Saturday, 18 February, Munich – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Munich. Latvian and Estonian presidents also participated in the meeting where views were exchanged on cooperation with the United States and on strengthening the transatlantic bond.
The highlight of the agenda was the importance of strong transatlantic relations for peace and security.
According to the President, the United States is Lithuania’s strategic partner that contributes to building up security across the entire region through active and tangible work. Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed gratitude to the Vice President for his country’s decision to deploy U.S. soldiers and military equipment, including tanks “Abrams” in Poland and in the Baltic states.
The President pointed out that geopolitical tension was ongoing. Renewed Russian aggression in Ukraine, intense militarization of the Kaliningrad region, and the high scale military exercise “Zapad 2017”, scheduled for the summer, clearly demonstrate that peace and respect for international law is of no interest to this state.
Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the increased risk of military incidents and provocations made us seriously consider further defense and deterrence measures: improvement and speed-up of the decision making process in NATO, regularly updated defense plans for the Baltic states dealing with real threats, implementation of the Alliance’s measures precluding a possible military isolation of the Baltic states, and establishment of regional air defense.
The President also underscored that deterrence was always cheaper than war. Therefore, each allied solder on our soil is crucial. It sends a clear message that NATO is strong, united and will defend each of its member, if necessary.
Dalia Grybauskaitė noted, however, that we could not rely only on the support of large NATO member states. Each member of the Alliance has to be responsible for its own security, first and foremost, through appropriate spending for national defense.
The President stressed that, according to defense spending, the Baltic states and Poland were among the top eight NATO countries. Estonia has already reached the 2% GDP target while Lithuania and Latvia will reach it next year.
Lithuania is actively modernizing its armed forces: it procures new military equipment, has established a national rapid response force, reinstated a conscript army and is strongly focused on the manning of military units.
This was the first meeting of Dalia Grybauskaitė with one of the highest-ranking U.S. officials of the new administration.
Last updated 2017.02.20 08:33Back