President of the Republic of Lithuania

German Defense Minister awarded state decoration of Lithuania

2017-03-02

Thursday, March 2, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to present her with the Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania for personal support to the development of relations between Lithuania and Germany as well as for her contribution to strengthening bilateral military cooperation. The President underlined that with Ursula von der Leyen as head of the Defense Ministry, Germany demonstrated effective leadership in reinforcing the security of Lithuania and NATO’s eastern flank.

Against the backdrop of continued Russian provocations directed at Lithuania and the Baltic states, Germany was the first to assume responsibility for implementing measures of deterrence agreed on by NATO at the Warsaw summit as it took the lead role in the formation of NATO’s enhanced forward presence in Lithuania.

Germany also contributes in a substantial way to the development of Lithuania’s defense capabilities. It is a key partner in the process of modernizing Lithuania’s armed forces, equipment and other military components. German troops are taking part in international exercises in Lithuania. German officers serve in the NATO Force Integration Unit based in Vilnius.

At the initiative of Ursula von der Leyen, the German Ministry of Defense maintains close cooperation contacts with the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense as they exchange best practices aimed at making public procurement more transparent.

In a bilateral meeting held after the award ceremony, President Dalia Grybauskaitė and the German Defense Minister discussed further measures to enhance NATO’s defense posture. According to the President, the ongoing geopolitical tension and threats posed by Russia will make the year ahead difficult. The exercise Zapad 2017 planned by Russia along the borders of the Baltic states increases the risk of possible military provocations.

It is therefore necessary to speed up NATO’s decision-making process, to regularly update defense plans, adapting them to the newly emerging threats, to prevent the region’s possible military isolation, and to develop regional air defense.   

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2017.03.02 15:46

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