Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas met his Czech counterpart, Mirek Topolanek, in Prague to discuss the pending energy crisis and relations with Russia. The two men stressed that developing nuclear energy is one of the most realistic alternatives to traditional energy resources and one of the best ways to combat global warming. They also discussed the energy problems that Lithuania and the rest of the region would face after the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is decommissioned in 2009.
Opposition parties have united to put forward a procedure of no confidence in Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas. The interpellation was backed by 58 MPs. The opposition has not yet accumulated the 71 votes needed to force the prime minister to resign. Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas now has to register the procedure and hand it over to Prime Minister, who has two weeks to present a written answer. The opposition parties came up with 19 questions about the newly formed national investment company Leo LT, the closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant , the teachers' strikes and the prime minister's relationship with gas company Dujotekana.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer praised Lithuania's efforts in the mission in Afghanistan. "Lithuania is setting a great example to other allies. I was in Chagcharan. I saw what they achieved. I use Lithuania's example always when I visit PRTs of other allies," the NATO leader told Baltic journalists on March 17. Lithuania is part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operating in Afghanistan and is in charge of reconstruction of the Ghor province.
Teachers have taken up another protest outside Parliament to demand higher wages. Weilding signs reading "Stop Damaging the Education System" and ringing bells, a few hundred protestors from 40 schools stood in front of the building on march 18. Parliament is discussing the matter and considering a proposal from opposition parties to find means for increasing teacher wages. Teachers have been striking sporadically all over the country for more than two weeks.
The government urged all parties in Serbia and Kosovo to refrain from violence after tensions recently flared up in the region asn the country saw the largest riots since Feb. 17. "The road towards prospects of security and stability in the region must be founded," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Violeta Gaizauskaite told BNS. According to data from the Foreign Ministry, Lithuanian citizens working in Kosovo were not harmed during the unrest. Soldiers took up positions in full body armor in the Kosovar town of Mitrovica as Serbians, clashed with UN police and NATO peacekeepers on March 17.