Lietuva in brief - 2007-04-18

  • 2007-04-18
More than half of all Lithuanians want their country to recall its troops from Iraq, according to a poll published on the Delfi Internet portal on April 17. The survey, carried out March 12 - 22 by Spinter Tyrimai, showed that 56.3 percent of Lithuanians support the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, while 31.2 percent said the Baltic state's soldiers should stay in the country. Some 12.5 percent were undecided. Nearly half 's 49.5 percent 's of the 1,003 respondents to the poll were against Lithuanian troops taking part in any international missions, while 40.2 percent felt the troops should continue to take part in global military missions. About 60 Lithuanian soldiers are currently in Iraq, and another 120 in Afghanistan, where the Baltic nation leads a NATO provincial reconstruction team in Ghor province.

Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas on April 15 left Vilnius for a week-long visit to the former Soviet Union republics of Central Asia. The visit started in Kazakhstan, where Vaitiekunas met President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Masimov, and attended a Lithuanian-Kazakhstan business forum. Vaitiekunas then went to Tajikistan to meet President Emomali Rachmonov, and chairman of Parliament's Upper House Makhmadsaid Ubaydullayev. The Lithuanian minister is also to visit Kyrgyzstan where he is scheduled to hold talks with President Kurmanbek Bakiev and Speaker of the Parliament Marat Sultanov. The last stop on his trip will be Uzbekistan, where meetings with President Islom Karimov and Speaker of the Parliament Erkin Khalilov are scheduled.

Parliament on April 12 called upon President Valdas Adamkus to re-submit a decree recalling Arvydas Pocius from his position as head of the State Security Department. The resolution asking for the decree's resubmission was supported by 75 lawmakers in the 141-member parliament. Lithuanian legislators had already voted on Pocius' resignation in March, however after delivering a shocking speech in Parliament, Pocius survived the vote. In his speech, Pocius accused the chairman of the Parliamentary National Defense and Security Committee of collaboration with the KGB. It later came out that Pocius' statements were not supported by facts.

The British TV channel BBC on April 16 began broadcasting a 30-second clip advertising Lithuania as a travel destination. The LT United song "We are the winners," which won sixth place at last year's Eurovision contest, is used as musical background for the clip. The ad features scenes of Vilnius, Lithuanian nature and prominent Lithuanian sportsmen and musicians. It will be broadcast three times a day until the end of April, the Lithuanian State Tourism Department reported. Last year the BBC broadcast a clip advertising Vilnius, and this year plans are to have the city advertised on CNN as well.