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Leadership of the national defence system regards Iceland as an important and reliable partner of Lithuania
On March 17 Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis and Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas discussed security situation in the region, and bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Director of Security and Defence Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland Arnór Sigurjónsson conducting his first formal visit in Vilnius.
Both Minister and Chief of Defence underscored that Iceland was an important and reliable partner to Lithuania, the country that was the first to recognise Lithuania’s independence. Lithuania is very grateful and has a particular appreciation of it.
Minister R. Karoblis pointed out to the guest the importance of solidarity and a closer cooperation of Nordic and Baltic countries for responding to the security threats facing the region. “The only way to counter the security threats of today is to seek a NATO and the European Union that are united. We have to employ every measure necessary to enhance security and defence. One of those is the Nordic-Baltic cooperation,” Minister of National Defence said. R. Karolis stressed that both, political dialogue and joint practical projects of military cooperation were very important in the area.
“Cooperation in such areas as air and maritime surveillance, information and cyber security, joint military exercises and training is what should strengthen our relations and interaction. Lithuania, like other Baltic countries, seek a more intense involvement in the different military projects, highly useful as a platform for consultations and exchange of ideas, the Nordic countries are completing in the Nordic Defence Cooperation, NORDEFCO, framework,” R. Karoblis says.
Lithuania’s Chief of Defence briefed A. Sigurjónsson on the security situation in our region, capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and their development plans. Other themes addressed at their meeting were the Russian-Belorussian Exercise Zapad 2017, Russian activities in the region, and scenarios of possible further development of events.
Lt Gen J. V. Žukas and A. Sigurjónsson exchanged views on the NATO enhanced Forward Presence, NATO Air Policing Mission, NATO Command Structure reform, and the U.S. deterrence measures.
Iceland’s top security, defence and military official also paid a visit to the Joint Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and met with its and the NATO Force Integration Unit’s (headquartered in the same building) leaders.
Iceland does not have national armed forces but has a role in shaping regional security environment, contributes funds and civilian personnel to NATO operations. In 2005-2007 Iceland was contributing a Mobile Liaison and Observation Team (MLOT) of six members to the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Ghor province, Afghanistan. Also, an Icelandic civilian specialist was helping with development cooperation projects in Ghor.
As the Director of Security and Defence Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Arnór Sigurjónsson holds the highest security, defence and military affairs office in Iceland, equivalent to the chief of defence.
Credits: Alfredas Pliadis