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New US administration promises to carry on with NATO commitments



February 12, Minister of National Defence Rasa Jukneviciene visited Pentagon (Washington) and met with the US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and Congressmen Democrat John Tanner (Tennessee) and Republican with Lithuanian background John Shimkus (Illinois).


Summarising discussion outcome immediately after the meetings, R. Jukneviciene underlined that ”Talks in Washington made it obvious that the new administration of the USA is committed as firmly as previous administrations to security engagements to NATO and European allies, including Lithuania.”


During the meeting in Pentagon Secretary of Defence R. Gates expressed gratitude to Lithuanian Minister for the former and present contribution of Lithuanian Armed Forces to the NATO and US-led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Defence leaders of both countries agreed that success of NATO ISAF operation in Afghanistan will be a decisive factor for the future and efficiency of the Alliance. Input of each country partly returns to it as ensurment of its own security.


R.Jukneviciene thanked R.Gates for the rotations of the US Air Force contingents sent to the NATO Baltic Air-policing mission conducted under the mandate valid till the end of 2011. The US Secretary of Defence assured he would support extension of mandate of the mission.


The meeting officials also shared opinions about the NATO-Russia relations in the stage of pursuing partnership beneficial for both sides and yet retaining the fundamental values of freedom and democracy; they also addressed support for the Ukraine's and Georgia's aspirations of Euro-Atlantic integration, and other energy-related security aspects.


Discussing functions and aims of NATO, Secretary R.Gates assured Defence Minister of Lithuania of the continued engagement of the US to the collective defence defined by the Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. According to R.Gates, NATO is not a debating club but a defence organisation with the Article 5 at its heart.


Later Lithuanian Minister proceeded to meet with Congressman and President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly Democrat John Tanner, and Congressman Republican John Shimkus. The Minister and Congressmen touched upon running issues of parliamentary cooperation among NATO members and the upcoming meeting of the Standing Committee planed by the Assembly in Vilnius this year.


In the evening the Minister and delegation met with members of Lithuanian community of Washington at the Lithuania's Embassy in the US.


Danguolė Bickauskiene, PR of the Minister of National Defence, 8 686 062 65, 8 5 273 5520.

2015-07-24 05:31


How neat! Is it really this simpel? You make it look easy.
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