“As a matter of fact, the global media also noticed the return of the conscription system. And we are emphasizing the fact as yet another step, next to the decisions to consistently increase defence spending, (…) we present it as our contribution to collective defence and that we take it seriously and, while expecting support from our Allies, we ourselves are doing what we can. Our security is not only a headache that only we feel, it is a concern for the Alliance, as well, and we should seriously contribute to common efforts of ensuring security of the Alliance’s territory,” Linkevičius told BNS in a telephone interview from Washington D.C.
On Thursday, the minister met with US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner who, in Linkevičius’ words, restated support to the Baltic states.
“From him we heard assurance that our priority issues we are talking about will not go unnoticed. They are among the priorities of the Congress leadership and it was important to hear it,” said the Lithuanian diplomacy chief.
Linkevičius was also invited for a closed discussion at one of the US most important analytical centres at the Atlantic Council, which provided the minister with a platform “for an open discussion of the security situation, the steps we must take to implement the results of the NATO summit in an effort to step up the security of our region, with a particular focus on Lithuania”.
During his stay in Washington D.C., Linkevičius met with US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, US president’s senior adviser for European affairs Charles Kupchan, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, US Senate Defense Committee Chairman John McCain, US House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi, US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee’s European Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Ron Johnson, US Senator Richard Durbin of Lithuanian origin, other congressmen and heads of non-governmental organizations.
On Tuesday, the Lithuanian State Defence Council proposed reintroducing conscription and call about 3,500 young men for a nine-month training every year. The plans are yet to be endorsed by parliament.
Lithuania gave up the conscription system in 2008.