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News archive (2013 - 08)

EU-Belarusian relations discussed in Vilnius
2013.09.18
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On September 18 the Eastern European Studies Centre in Vilnius hosted an international seminar “The Future of Belarus: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe”. At the event a dispute took place on the relations of the European Union and Belarus in the contest of Eastern Partnership and perspectives of the relations.

 

According to Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas who was in attendance at the event, Lithuania seeks to enhance European-Belarusian relations and anticipates new opportunities that the Lithuanian EU Presidency could bring for Belarus.

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Last portion of peacekeepers returned from the multinational mission in Ghor province, Afghanistan
2013.09.12
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Video report

 

Photo gallery

 

On September 12 the last portion of the final rotation of Chaghcharan PRT came home after the multinational mission in Afghanistan. Just like the first part of the PRT-17 which returned on September 11, it was flown back by US partners.

 

The troops served in the last shift of the Provincial Reconstruction Team which closed the PRT mission that Lithuania had been heading for 8 years.

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Defence Minister of Belgium visited Belgian air personnel deployed to carry out NATO Air Policing mission to Šiauliai Air Base
2013.09.05
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On September 5 Defence Minister of Belgium Pieter De Crem paid a visit to the Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force where he met with military personnel of the Belgian Royal Air Force who had assumed command of the Baltic Air Policing mission this week.

 

Vice Minister of National Defence Marijus Velička, Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Major General Edvardas Mažeikis, acting Commander of the Air Base Lieutenant Colonel Gintaras Gasys and Commander of the Air Contingent of the Belgian Royal Air Force in charge of the Baltic air policing Captain-Commandant Kris Hulpiau met the Belgian delegation.

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Belgian fighter-jets landed in Šiauliai to take over of the Baltic Air Policing mission
2013.09.02
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On September 2 four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter-jets of the Royal Belgian Air Force landed at the Šiauliai Air Base to take charge of NATO’s Air Policing mission over the Baltic States. The Air Contingent of the Royal Belgian Air Force will take over the responsibility of protecting Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian airspace from French military at a formal ceremony on September 3.

 

Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Major General Edvardas Mažeikis, Head of Operations Division of the Belgian Royal Air Force Colonel Georges Franchomme, Commander of the Estonian Air Force Colonel Jaak Tarien, Defence Attaché of France in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Luc Lopez, representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania, leadership of Šiauliai city and circuit, and other guests are expected to be in attendance at the formal changeover ceremony.

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Provincial reconstruction mission in Ghor province completed, military come home
2013.08.31
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On August 31 military personnel who have been serving in the 17th rotation of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT-17) in Ghor province reached Kabul safely from where their final destination in the short run will be home, Lithuania. The last rotation, approximately 80 military members, arrived in Kabul on August 31 by International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF) aircraft. The PRT-17 is expected to return to Lithuania in full composition before mid-September.

 

The withdrawal marks completion of the eight-year long largest military mission Lithuania had conducted so far and the first independent one – running a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan. From 2005 Lithuanian troops were ensuring security in the province and provided support in completion of development cooperation projects. More than 2500 Lithuanian troops served in Chaghcharan PRTs over the duration of the mission.

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Belgian fighter-jets will land in Šiauliai to take over NATO’s air policing tasks
2013.08.30
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On September 2 four F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter-jets of the Belgian Air Force will land at the Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force to replace French air personnel and Mirage F1-CR aircraft that have been conducting NATO’s Air Policing mission in the Baltic States.

 

Belgian military will be protecting the Baltic skies for a third time (the country delegated its air personnel and assets to carry out air policing over the Baltic States in 2004 and 2006-2007).

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New Defence Attaché of Spain accredited at the Ministry of National Defence
2013.08.29
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On August 29 Colonel José M. Martínez Cortés was accredited as the new Defence Attaché of Spain in Lithuania in a formal ceremony at the Ministry of National Defence. Vice Minister of National Defence Marijus Velička congratulated the new military representative of Spain with the new appointment. The Vice Minister expressed his positive evaluation of the support that Spain had rendered to the already closed mission in the province of Ghor of Afghanistan and wished Col J. M. M. Cortés success in fulfilling his new duties.

 

The ceremony was also attended by Ambassador of Spain Miguel Arias Estevéz, representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

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Multinational mine clearance operation ended
2013.08.29
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August 29, multinational mine clearance and explosive ordnance disposal operation OPEN SPIRIT 2013 which took place in the exclusive economic zone and territorial waters of the Republic of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea ended. Warships participating in the mine hunting and sweeping event have reconnoitred a territory of over 118 square kilometres and have discovered 10 nautical mines, 14 mine anchors and one missile. Three shipwrecks were also spotted and marked during the operation. OPEN SPIRIT 2013 Distinguished Visitors and Media Day took place on August 28, the event involved such participants as representatives of the Ministry of National Defence, Lithuanian and other countries armed forces, media representatives, and other honourable guests.

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6th shift of the Air Mentoring Team deployed to Afghanistan
2013.08.27
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On August 27 a formal deployment ceremony was held at Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force for the 6th shift of Lithuanian-led Air Mentoring Team (AMT) responsible for training local helicopter pilots and helicopter maintenance personnel in Afghanistan.

 

Three members of the Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force, two members of Weaponry and Equipment Depot of the Lithuanian Air Force, one member of the Air Defence Battalion and one Latvian representative will serve in AMT-6.

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Minister of National Defence thank people of Lithuania for the support to the mission in Ghor province now nearing completion
2013.08.27
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Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas held a press conference after returning from his trip to Afghanistan on August 25 where compound of the Lithuanian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team was formally handed over to the Afghan National Army (ANA). The Minister thanked military and civilian personnel who had participated in the mission as well as to all the Lithuanians and families of the troops for their support throughout the operation.

 

“Our decision to head a PRT was a right choice that Lithuania derived benefit from, too. The name of our country was heard, it was the first independent and the largest multinational mission that Lithuania had been a part of along with other partner countries,” the Minister said.

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