Lietuva in brief - 2007-05-16

  • 2007-05-16
The US missile cruiser Normandy of will visit the port of Klaipeda May 19 's 21, following its visit to Riga. The Lithuanian Defense Ministry reports that the powerful Ticonderoga class battle cruiser will moor at Bega quay May 19 as part of its "cognitive-friendly" tour of ports in the Baltic states. The ship's contingent of 360 will take part in events marking "army and society day," as well as a support campaign for kids from children's homes during which the US and Lithuanian seamen will perform repair works and hold sports competitions.

Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas on May 15 expressed hope that Lithuania's intentions to veto the negotiations over the new cooperation agreement between the European Union and Russia will be understood by other members of the EU. He was referring to Lithuania's intentions to veto the EU-Russian cooperation treaty at the EU-Russian summit in Samara on May 18. Lithuania is quite open in its discontent with Russia, which ceased suppling oil to the Mazeikiai Oil Company by pipeline last July. Lithuania's Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on May 14 that he believed it would be too early to approve a mandate for a new cooperation agreement between the EU and Russia without Russia taking any hard positive actions.

According to a poll released May 14 almost two-thirds 's 61 percent 's of Lithuania's population like the nation's ban on smoking in restaurants, cafes and bars. The majority of those in favor of the measure were females, respondents with higher education and higher income. The poll, which was commissioned by news portal Delfi, also showed that he smoking ban has had no effect on dining-out habits. About 82 percent of smokers said their eating-out habits were unchanged. About 7 percent said they had cut down on how often they dine out, while another 7 percent said they had become more frequent guests at restaurants, cafes or bars. The poll also revealed an increase in the dining-out frequency of non-smokers.

On May 14 troops of Lithuania's LITCON-9 squadron were called in to reinforce a Danish squad that had been caught in an ambush and firefight in the Iraqi region of Hartha. The Danish troops had been caught in a so-called combination ambush, during which a makeshift explosive device was set off and shots were fired at the troops. Five Danish soldiers and an interpreter were wounded, one soldier was killed. Commander of the Land Forces of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Brigadier General Arvydas Pocius told BNS that all of the Lithuanians returned to base safe and sound. He said that the Lithuanian squad arrived at the scene, ensured cover according to every tactical rule and retreated together with the Danes. LITCCON-9, a Lithuanian squadron of some 50 troops, has been serving in the Danish battalion within the Great Britain-led division since February.