Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr Franz Josef Jung paid a formal visit to Lithuania on June 10. Ministers of Lithuania and Germany discussed points of cooperation, NATO and the EU issues.
Federal Defence Minister of Germany said his visit in Lithuania was a step facilitating elaboration of bilateral defence cooperation. Around 400 military of Lithuanian Armed Forces have undergone training in Germany, German Air Component will come to conduct Baltic Air-policing mission in autumn 2009 for the third time. „By implementing these measures we fulfill our commitments to NATO and underline the closeness of cooperation between our countries," the guest said.
Dr F. J. Jung stressed commenting of the NATO Strategic Concept to be elaborated on in more detail in NATO Defence Ministers' meeting in Brussels that particular attention should be paid for strengthening of NATO Response Force as it is the only way to ensure NATO operation according to the Article 5. Minister R.Juknevičienė in her turn said that one of Lithuania's priorities is preparation of national forces for duty in NRF-14 in 2010. „We fully support purpose of the reform - strong NRF capable of handling wide range of operations," R.Juknevičienė said. „In case of necessity NRF must the first institution ready to enforce NATO Articles 4 and 5."
Lithuanian Minister also accentuated coherence of NATO functions stating that efficient collective defence and activities beyond the NATO's borders must be supplementary to each other like two sides of the same coin. Collective defence and Article 5 commitments must remain a keystone in a new Strategic Concept.
On the other hand, non-conventional security challenges should also be accounted for while strengthening NATO's role in cyber-defence and energy security. R.Juknevičienė expressed the view on NATO enlargement the commitment of the "open door" policy should be continued with. Raising NATO visibility in the Baltic States through planning joint exercise and organisation of other measures of security ensurment was also discussed. Lithuanian Minister pointed out the importance of realistic approach towards the threats to NATO with regard to specific regions.
Another important topic of the meeting was the issue of NATO enlargement. Minister of National Defence reaffirmed Lithuania's position of the issue: „We will continue to support Georgia and Ukraine politically and in practice in their Euro-Atlantic aspirations." Minister of Germany highlighted that it was very important for the countries to carry on with their commitments with regard to NATO enlargement because only then they could take up responsibilities necessary to ensure security. „Bucharest Summit drew NATO guidelines concerning Georgia and Russia and veto right was given to Russia; however, both countries will have to fulfill their commitments," German Minister said.
It was said in the meeting in the NATO-Russia context that Lithuania maintained the priority of good neighborly relations with all the states including Russia. Our country welcomes and supports new initiatives of the EU in the Eastern Europe - the Eastern Neighbourhood and the new agreement with Russia. The latter shall be based on shared democratic values and mutual benefit. Dr F. J. Jung upheld that dialogue with Russia was a right choice. The purpose of global nuclear security demands cooperation with Russia and China along with the US and the EU.
Defence Ministers of Germany and Lithuania paid considerable attention to international operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Dr F. J. Jung noted that Germany planed to make a contribution of around 600 troops to strengthen security control in Afghanistan during the period of presidential elections. He stressed that this particular international operation might be resolved successfully if the focus was switched from military mission solely to missions of organising humanitarian assistance and training, and establishing various national institutions as well. The Minister added that a certain level of military presence in Kosovo was necessary to maintain the achieved level of security.
German Minister briefly touched upon issues of defence financing with regard to economic crisis and remarked that he followed the principle oft security being impossible without freedom - the backbone of economic development.
Formal meeting was followed by a short media opportunity held by the Lithuanian and German Defence Ministers at the Ministry of National Defence.
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Picture of A.Pliadis, MoND.