Fast-track ratification of Lithuania-US defence deal would be political signal

USA troops marching in the Cathedral Sq in Vilnius during the Army day
DELFI / Domantas Pipas

“What we want is to send a very clear political signal that we have done everything, that we are ready in legal and other terms to host US troops when they are ready to come to Lithuania and stay here for a long time,” Živilė Šatūnienė said on the Žinių Radijas radio station.

“Actually, we already have some (US troops) now, but not very many. There is a rotational American company. But we do expect much more intensive cooperation, the more the better,” she said.

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President Grybauskaitė is submitting the agreement to the Seimas for ratification under the urgency procedure. It is possible that the parliament will ratify the document during its extraordinary session to be held on Feb. 14 to pass legislation on children’s protection, her advisor said.

The agreement was signed by Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis and Anne Hall, the US ambassador to Lithuania, on January 17 and will take effect after it is ratified by the Seimas.

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The agreement gives the US jurisdiction over crimes committed by its military personnel, but allows Lithuania as the host nation to take over jurisdiction in cases of particular importance to it. The document also gives the US the right to use certain military facilities, although these facilities remain in the ownership of Lithuania.

Latvia and Estonia also signed similar agreements with the US this year.

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