By The Baltic Times (May 22, 2012)
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, who attended the NATO Summit in Chicago, underlined that at this summit Lithuania had achieved and reaffirmed all the goals it sought to ensure the security of our country and people.
Decisions taken at the Summit include the extension of NATO’s Air Policing mission indefinitely, collective defense guarantees (in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty), approved measures to implement contingency plans, no division into missile defence sectors, and the protection of Allies by a full-fledged, effective and independent NATO missile defense system.
“This NATO Summit is the most successful and result-yielding for the Baltic States. The achievements over recent three years are really impressive. Lithuania’s membership in NATO becomes real and full-fledged. At last, we have clear and specific security guarantees that we will be protected and defended. Lithuanian people can feel safe,” Grybauskaite underlined.
US President Barack Obama, in his speech at the North Atlantic Council, also voiced strong support for the Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States. At the NATO Summit, this mission was designated as one of the most successful examples of NATO solidarity. For their part, the Baltic countries announced that they were increasing their contribution to the mission.
A total of 13 documents were approved at the NATO Summit. The most important among them are the Chicago Summit Declaration and a broad package of defense commitments (NATO Forces 2020), providing for effective security enhancing measures today and ten years on. It was agreed to implement the “smart defense” and “connected forces” initiatives of improving NATO cooperation and interoperability to allow Allies using effectively and jointly their military, financial and technological capabilities. The smart defense initiative will also include the NATO missile defense system and Air Policing mission in the Baltics, which are important for Lithuania.
The Alliance also supported at the highest level Lithuania’s aspirations to have the Vilnius-based Energy Security Center (established in 2012) accredited with NATO as a center of excellence and to complete the accreditation process as soon as possible.
The Summit reaffirmed NATO’s focus on the intensifying militarization in Kaliningrad. According to the President, NATO is prepared to strengthen cooperation with Russia, but there must be reciprocity. The President stressed that intensive militarization at the borders of the Alliance is in contradiction to Russia’s declared aspiration to develop a strategic partnership with NATO.