On 12 August, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vygaudas Ušackas met with the United States’ Assistant Secretary of State Philip H. Gordon, who heads of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. The meeting was held in the Utena Region.
The officials exchanged views concerning NATO’s new Strategic Concept which is currently being drafted. Minister V.Ušackas noted that Lithuania was keen to maintain the principle of collective defence in the new concept.
“NATO has to guarantee the highest level of security in the whole of its territory, therefore it is important to prepare NATO defence plans”, the Minister said. According to the head of Lithuania’s diplomacy, “we speak up for the creation of NATO infrastructure and training centres in all the Alliance’s territory, including Lithuania”.
In the words of Minister V.Ušackas, Lithuania expresses very clear support to further enlargement of NATO. Lithuania also aims to have the air police mission in the Baltic States extended after 2011 as well as to have it established as a permanent NATO mission.
During his meeting with Ph.H.Gordon, the Minister stressed that the Alliance had to continue developing pragmatic relations with Russia and to be principled about Russia’s obligation to fulfil its commitments.
Lithuania’s and U.S. participation in international missions in Afghanistan was also discussed at the meeting. It was highlighted that even in a difficult economic situation Lithuania would continue implementing humanitarian and military commitments in Afghanistan.
The officials discussed the global economic and financial crisis and its impact on Eastern European countries, the situation in Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus.
“The U.S. support is also important for the European Union in implementing its Eastern Partnership as it is necessary to strengthen cooperation with our eastern neighbours. It is very important to include the closest Lithuanian neighbour Belarus into these processes”, Minister V.Ušackas said.
The Minister and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State agreed that it was necessary to jointly coordinate the transatlantic policy and to be ready for various unexpected situations and crises.