Lithuanian diplomats send defense message to US new administration

USA congress
AFP/Scanpix

Rolandas Kačinskas, the Foreign Ministry’s political director who headed the delegation, told BNS the Lithuanian diplomats met with officials in charge of handover of power in the Pentagon, the Department of State and the White House.

“We said we realize their need to consolidate their national defense and demonstrated that Lithuania did not expect others to ensure our security,” Kačinskas said in a telephone interview from Washington D.C.

After the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, Lithuania has raised its defense spending, which used to be among the lowest among NATO member-states. Last year, partial mandatory conscription to the army was reintroduced. The new government says that the NATO-prescribed goal of earmarking 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for defense needs would be reached in 2018.

During his election campaign, US President-Elect Donald Trump sent alarming messages to Europe by stating the US decision on Allied defense would only be made after seeing whether they meet their commitments.

Kačinskas did not specify the officials the Lithuanian delegation met with. In his words, energy security was also high on the agenda of the meetings.

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