Lietuva in brief - 2008-12-03

  • 2008-12-03
Lithuania's incoming Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius is no longer ruling out having to seek financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but says only factors outside the government's control, such as a deeper crisis in Latvia or Russia, could force it to turn to the IMF for help. He said that there were no discussions yet as to what amount of money Lithuania could have to borrow from the IMF. Kubilius last week reiterated his earlier statement that Lithuania did not plan to turn to the IMF for financial help. "Such borrowing would mean that we are declaring ourselves a disaster area," he said, adding that going to the IMF for loans could scare away potential investors and would place restrictions on the authorities. The incoming government plans to discuss a crisis management plan and planned structural reforms, as well as further cooperation with the fund. Neighbors Latvia recently turned to the IMF and EU for funds support.

Just 37.16 percent of the Lithuanian population expects new Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius to survive a four-year term in parliament, a poll published in the Veidas weekly magazine showed. According to the survey, 22 percent of those polled think that the Kubilius-led Cabinet will last less than two years. Another 10.93 percent of respondents said the new government would stay in office for two years, while 4.64 percent said it would work for three years.

Acting Lithuanian Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas will take office as an adviser to Parliamentary Speaker Arunas Valinskas. Valinskas noted the outgoing foreign minister's "professional qualities and foreign policy continuity," when asked about motives behind the appointment. "Vaitiekunas is, in my opinion, among the professionals in this domain," Valinskas said. Vaitiekunas, a 55-year-old diplomat, has a background in physics and was among the signatories of the Act of Independence. Vaitiekunas worked as a consultant to the parliamentary speaker in 1992-1993, adviser to then president Algirdas Brazauskas in 1993-1998, ambassador to Latvia in 1999-2004 and ambassador to Belarus in 2005-2006. Vaitiekunas has been foreign minister since 2006.

The Labor Exchange office granted 6,300 work permits to foreign nationals during the first nine months of this year, a 43 percent increase year-on-year, the Economy Ministry reported. Foreign workers came to Lithuania from 27 countries - mostly from Belarus (32 percent), Ukraine (24 percent), Turkey (21 percent), Moldova (7 percent), China (7 percent) and Russia (4 percent), according to the ministry's latest Economic Overview report.

Owners of a weaver farm in northern Lithuania have tallied up 80,000 litas (23,000 euros) in losses after robbers stole large amounts of furs and leather hides. Three masked criminals beat up the security guard, cuffed him and disappeared, Lietuvos Rytas daily reported. The guard managed to escape and reported the crime.

Lithuania signed a treaty banning cluster bombs, in the Norwegian capital Oslo, the foreign ministry said. Ambassador to Norway Alfonsas Eidintas signed the treaty. The document bans production, storage and use of cluster bombs. The treaty has 107 signatory countries.