Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

9 June 2000


by Mr Romas Kilikauskas
Deputy Minister of National Defense of Lithuania
at the Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Mr. Secretary General
Your Excellencies Ministers and Ambassadors
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is an honor for me to be part of this conference and to say a few words about issues that concern Lithuania.

Lithuania would like to express its sympathy to the United Kingdom for the tragic loss of Brigadier Stephen Saunders.

Three days ago the Baltic Regional Air Space Surveillance Center was dedicated in Lithuania. This is an example of another successful joint endeavor between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that will allow all three to monitor their airspace and provide each of the three countries real-time monitoring data. Our thanks to all those NATO partners who helped us finance and develop this project, especially Norway, the United States and Denmark.

Lithuania is indeed very grateful for the significant amount of material military assistance that it is receiving from our NATO partners and Scandinavia.

  • Air Defense weapons system from Sweden.
  • Engineer battalion and school from Denmark
  • Mine hunter and machine guns from Germany
  • Infantry weapons from Poland
  • State of the art secure military radio equipment financed through FMF program of the United States - annual assistance program
  • English language laboratories from the UK and US
  • Training support from the UK, US, Denmark, Germany and many other partner countries. 1,200 officers and men have received specialised military training in various Western countries.

This material help has allowed us to concentrate our efforts on professionalizing and Westernizing our military training programs.

  • The Military Academy is being reformed to produce a leader rather than a narrow specialist.
  • NCO school is concentrating on honing the skills of the professional soldier.
  • 11-week basic training program for the conscripts has been designed by the Royal Marines and now executed by over 100 Lithuanian instructors. Includes military and citizenship training.

Since 1995 Lithuania has contributed over 600 military personnel in support of SFOR and KFOR peacekeeping operations. One soldier lost his life. Lithuania will continue to support these operations in the future. In addition, Lithuania is currently planning to deploy approximately 100 military personnel to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon. The Lithuanian contingent will operate as part of the Polish force which is planning to deploy within the next two months.

In conclusion permit me to say a few words about the Vilnius Conference of the 9 NATO aspirant countries of 19 May of this year. These 9 nations, representing 53 million people united their voices to say to the world loudly and clearly that they have as much of a right to security and stability as anyone else. That they share Western values of democracy, justice, freedom and respect for human rights, and that they should not and cannot be excluded from a Europe that is whole and free.

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