Lithuanian president’s expectations in meeting with Obama: US military presence and shale gas

Barack Obama and Dalia Grybauskaitė
AFP/Scanpix

“The US support to Lithuania is particularly important now, when we see and comprehend the threats,” senior foreign policy adviser Jovita Neliupšienė told BNS.

Neliupšienė says she hopes that the US Congress approves Obama’s proposal to earmark 1 billion US dollars to additional security measures in Eastern Europe.

“We hope that US troops extend their presence in Lithuania. The US has shown initiative to expand the NATO air-policing mission. Most importantly, our contingency would be important to all members of the Alliance, especially the US,” said the adviser.

Asked about the 1997 agreement with Russia, which stipulates that NATO cannot deploy permanent significant military capacities in new member-states, Neliupšienė said that Moscow itself breached the treaty, therefore, no commitments should undermine the security of NATO members.

“NATO member-states and Western countries are willing to stick to their commitments. Unfortunately, Russia is unwilling to observe these commitments. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that the commitments do not limit the possibility to defend the Alliance’s residents and does not undermine their security,” she added.

In her words, all elements of a country’s contingency are important to Lithuania, including the Armed Forces, exercises and a shorter response time.

The United States have currently deployed 150 troops in the Baltic states, in addition to the same number in Poland.

Neliupšienė said the meeting of Baltic leaders and the US president in Estonia should also address Washington’s plans to simplify shale gas exports, something that is of relevance to Lithuania as it seeks energy independence from Russia.

“We expect that the US decision is positive and we can expect shale gas exports to Lithuania in the nearest future,” she said.

In the adviser’s words, information security is another thing that is important to Lithuania, therefore, US is expected to “help outweigh the propaganda” from Russia.

Obama is due to arrive in Estonia on Tuesday evening. His agenda for Wednesday includes a meeting with the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. From Tallinn, the four leaders will leave for Wales, which will host a NATO summit until Friday. The summit should announce additional security measures for countries in Eastern Europe.

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