President expects parlt to debate defense deal with US next week

Dalia Grybauskaitė at the Seimas
DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

“I have asked for urgency. I hope this will be done during the extraordinary session. We want to finalize this process as soon as possible to show the US and other partners that Lithuania is ready to host NATO allies and jointly prepare for the defence of the country,” she said during a formal ceremony in Rukla to welcome NATO’s enhanced forward presence battalion.

The parliament is scheduled to hold an extraordinary session on February 14, with the agenda solely focused to legislation related to children’s rights protection.

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President Grybauskaitė on Monday submitted the agreement to the Seimas for ratification under the urgency procedure.

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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