On 1 February, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is paying an official visit to Lithuania. The Minister voiced support to NATO candidate countries, which aim to be invited to become member states of NATO.
“Last year we marked the 10th anniversary of the invitation to join NATO, so we understand very well that NATO membership can guarantee security and stability. Therefore, we must promote closer cooperation with candidate countries and help them to implement all necessary reforms,” Linkevičius said.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister and NATO Secretary General discussed NATO’s capacity building effort, possibilities for reverse transit from Afghanistan, current issues related to NATO’s partnerships policy, as well as Ukraine and Georgia situations.
Rasmussen thanked Lithuania for the participation in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Mission in Afghanistan, initiatives in the field of energy security and welcomed the opening of the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Lithuania.
Rasmussen’s visit to Lithuania also included meetings with President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas, and leaders of the Parliament (Seimas). NATO Secretary General will also pay a visit to the air base in Šiauliai hosting the NATO Air Policing mission. Currently, Danish Royal Air Force fighters are protecting the Baltic skies.
This will be Rasmussen’s third visit to Lithuania since 2009, when he took office as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Secretary General.