Trump to meet with Baltic presidents in Washington

Donald Trump
Reuters / Scanpix

Lithuanian diplomats say the meeting will mainly focus on security matters.

Lithuania wants the United States to send troops and air defense systems to its territory more frequently in an effort to deter Russia, also considering establishment of a joint cyber security center.

The meeting will give the US president an opportunity to show the three Baltic nations as an example of increased defense budgets – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia spend 2 percent of their gross domestic products (GDP) on defense, ahead of many European NATO members in these terms.

During the visit, a business forum will be held for signing of agreements on supplies of liquefied natural gas from the United States to Lithuania.

On the trip to Washington D.C., Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė is accompanied by ministers of foreign affairs, national defense and economy.

Concerns had heightened in the Baltic states over Trump’s presidential election campaign promise to improve relations with Russia and his statements that NATO was “obsolete”. Lithuanian officials are watching with concern the US president’s rows with America’s allies in Europe and his often unpredictable behavior.

Results of a survey published in February showed that two in three Lithuanians do not trust Trump in making the right decisions on key political matters.

At the same time, diplomats emphasize that, after Trump’s election to the White House, he became better disposed towards NATO, caring about US military power, furthermore, members of his administration have been showing much attention to the Baltic states.

There have lately been signs of Trump’s stricter stance on Russia – he allowed weaponry supplies to Ukraine and expelled 60 Russian diplomats in sign of solidarity with Great Britain over poisoning of a former spy.

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