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New Defence Attaché of the United Kingdom was accredited


On November 21 a new Defence Attaché of the United Kingdom to Lithuania Lieutenant Colonel Simon Fitzgibbon was accredited and the outgoing UK Defence Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Ian Watts was farewelled in a ceremony at the Ministry of National Defence. The rotation of attachés ceremony was attended by Vice Minister of National Defence Vytautas Umbrasas, UK Ambassador in Lithuania David Hunt, Mrs Pippa Watts, representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.


Lt Col I. Watts was the UK Defence Attaché in Lithuania from December 8, 2009 and was based in Tallinn, Estonia. National Defence System Medal of Merit will be presented to him upon the farewell and for his personal contribution to defence cooperation between the United Kingdom and Lithuania.


The new Defence Attaché Lt Col Simon Fitzgibbon began his military career in 1983 and has been serving in various military units throughout his own country and Europe since then. From 2008 to 2011 he was posted as the UK Defence Attaché in Kazakhstan. Before the appointment in Lithuania Lt Col Simon Fitzgibbon served at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Kabul. Like his predecessor, the new Defence Attaché of the United Kingdom in Lithuania will be based in Tallinn, Estonia.


Defence cooperation between Lithuania and the UK is based on the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on communications and defence cooperation signed by the Ministries of Defence of both countries in 1994, on a Memorandum on military exercises and training and Host Nation Support signed in 2003, and other bilateral and multilateral agreements.


In 2013 Lithuanian military personnel were assigned to conduct standby in a European Union Battle Group with troops of the United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden. King Mindaugas Motorised Infantry Battalion stationed in Panevėžys is undergoing training for the standby.


The United Kingdom has made a significant contribution to the development of military training system in Lithuania – British military instructors rendered assistance in the formation of the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonušas Radvila Training Regiment, the reform of the General Jonas Žemaitis Lithuanian Military Academy and the Division General Stasys Raštikis Lithuanian Armed Forces School, and in other areas. The United Kingdom was also Lithuania’s key partner in planning and implementation of defence command reform. Experts of the British Army also provide consultations in the fields of resources and procurement, defence planning, management and budget formation, and reserve reform, and support Baltic defence cooperation projects.


A British air contingent with four F3 “Tornado” fighter-jets deployed on the Baltic Air Policing mission in the period before the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005.


From 2003 to 2007 Lithuanian contingent LITCON participated in the Multi -National Force - Iraq in composition of the Danish Battalion in a UK-led sector together with British military, from 2003 to 2008 Lithuanian staff officers in Iraq served in the British-led Multi-National Division Baghdad.


Military cooperation is developed in the format of joint NATO projects: naval assets of both countries are assigned for duty to the Standing NRF Mine Counter Measures Group (SNMCMG-1), Lithuania constantly posts a military representative to the NATO Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters Northwood, UK.

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