Lithuania welcomes US missile shield

Prague Daily Monitor
28 January 2008

Prague, Jan 25 (CTK) – Lithuania supports the stationing of elements of the U.S. missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas told CTK after a meeting with his Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg Friday.

Vaitiekunas said Lithuania will present this position at the NATO summit in April that is to deal with the U.S. project and its possible integration with NATO defence.

The Untied States wants to build a radar base in the Czech Republic and a base with ten interceptor missiles in Poland.

Vaitiekunas said Lithuania welcomes every effort of NATO, the United States, the Czech Republic and Poland to create this type of missile defence.

He said the system will make the region safer, and that missile defence is also in Lithuania’s security interest.

Vaitiekunas said he can also feel support for the missile shield among Lithuanians.

Vaitiekunas and Schwarzenberg also discussed preparations for Czech EU presidency in the first half of 2009 and cooperation in the promotion of human rights in undemocratic countries, such as Belarus.

They also spoke about Lithuanian experience in heading a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan.

Czech soldiers and civilian experts are to similarly secure the development of the Afghan province of Logar as from March.

Schwarzenberg also confirmed that the Czech Republic will fulfil its offer and will participate in the protection of the air space of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Three Jas-39 Gripen fighters should join the mission next year.