President Valdas Adamkus dismissed fears that the deployment of United States missile defense elements in Poland would pose a threat to the Baltic states. "This is an integral part of the NATO defense system and we see it just this way. As the technology is advanced to the degree that it makes little difference whether such defense system will be mounted in or farther from Poland, just as long as it is efficiently targeted against terrorism, I believe it serves its purpose and I do not think it is a threat to the Baltic countries," Adamkus said. The U.S. and Poland signed a preliminary agreement Aug. 15 on the deployment of the missile shield elements in Poland. An analogous treaty was inked with the Czech Republic earlier this year. Russia thinks that the missile defense system may be used against it and has threatened Poland with a nuclear strike, but Washington says the shield, which was supported by all 26 members of NATO, is intended to serve as protection from possible missile attacks from "rogue states," particularly Iran.
Croatia and Albania have urged the Lithuanian parliament to ratify their NATO accession protocols without delay. The calls came from Croatian and Albanian ambassadors, Svjetlan Berkovic and Florent Celik, at a meeting with Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker Ceslovas Jursenas. Jursenas assured the ambassadors of Lithuania's consistent support to the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the two countries and the "open door" policy of the EU and NATO. Jursenas agreed that accession was important in light of the situation in Georgia. He said that the current Seimas would remain in office until Nov. 18 at the latest and said "good deeds should not be postponed." He expressed certitude that the Lithuanian parliament would endorse the protocols in September or October at the latest.
Athletes who placed eighth or better in the Beijing Summer Olympic Games will be awarded premiums worth a total of 2.75 million litas (799,000 euros). The highest sums await silver medalists Gintare Volungeviciute and Edvinas Krungolcas, who will receive 350,000 litas each. Bronze medalists Mindaugas Mizgaitis and Andrejus Zadneproviskis will receive 262,500 litas each, while Virgilijus Alekna will be awarded 187,500 litas for the same achievement. Money will also be given to athletes who came close to winning medals.
A worker from Latvia incurred a fatal injury at the cruise ship terminal in Klaipeda. Local authorities said that a broken cable caused a neck injury to a 55-year-old Latvian worker during loading operations at about 4 p.m. local time Friday. The man died on the way to the hospital.
Humanitarian aid has arrived in Tbilisi from Lithuania. Tents, food and hygiene items were donated. Charity items from Lithuanian citizens including clothing, bedclothes, hygiene items, blankets, sleeping bags, toys, baby formula and footwear were also delivered. More humanitarian aid will follow shortly.
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President Valdas Adamkus congratulated Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and the people of Ukraine on Independence Day, urging Ukrainian politicians to stand united in the Euro-Atlantic bid.
"Lithuania supports and will continue to support Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the success of which depended, first and foremost, on the unity and consolidation of Ukrainian political parties in securing democratic reforms," the presidential press service cited Adamkus as saying in a letter to Yushchenko.