The Defense Ministry started shopping for Lithuania's version of "Air Force One," though one also capable of transporting military cargo and troops. "We are looking for a solution that would meet the needs of transportation of both troops and military cargo as well as provision of high-ranking officials with air transport for visits," Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said. It is likely to be a jet plane that could be used for flying to Europe and farther, for example, to Afghanistan, without landing. The minister did not say what type or model of plane would be purchased, though he said it should be ready to go by next summer after being refitted. Politicians have clashed over the issue, but advisers to President Valdas Adamkus have said that it is not flattering to have to constantly travel on chartered jets.
President Valdas Adamkus was selected person of the year for the fourth time, a poll published in Lietuvos Rytas showed. Adamkus was named as person of the year by 18.7 percent of respondents, followed by European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite (10 percent) and Labor Party leader Viktor Uspaskich (9.6 percent).
Rolandas Paksas said he planned to fight for cancellation of his impeachment and return to the president's office. He expressed joy over the recent Supreme Court ruling that found no evidence of his guilt, and he pledged to seek annulment of parliamentary impeachment that took away his post. Paksas said he and his Liberal Democratic Party were working on a plan to cancel the outcome of parliamentary impeachment. In his words, efforts will be made to find the impeachment null and void in Lithuania and the European Court of Human Rights, which should address Paksas' claim next year. The ex-president refused to reveal what route he would take to achieve these goals, but he expressed certainty that "the time will come for members of the parliament to rectify the mistake they made."
Polish Ambassador to Lithuania Janusz Skolimowski may be forced to leave diplomatic service amid a campaign in the Polish Foreign Ministry to purge the institution of former collaborators of nomenclature and Communist special services, the Polish daily newspaper Wiadomosci reported this week. According to the report, the ministry issued an official communique on Jan. 2, saying that "it is unacceptable that Polish ambassadorial functions were performed by persons linked with the Polish joint labor party. It has lost the trust of all institutions in charge of foreign policy."