Lithuania, US seek stronger ties during Washington meeting

  • 2014-10-13
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

US Vice President Joe Biden (left) meets with Lithuania PM Algirdas Butkevicius (photo: White House)

Major energy and security issues have been discussed during a meeting between Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius and US Vice President Joe Biden in Washington last weekend.

"I want to emphasize that the US is the most important strategic ally of Lithuania in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)," Butkevicius said on Saturday.

"Lithuania highly values US leadership in reinforcing protection of the Baltic States and taking all necessary means to enhance security and stop Russia's aggression in Europe.

"We welcome and support the initiative of the US Administration to increase the security of NATO allies in Europe, especially in our region. We hope that the US Congress supports this initiative as well and makes relevant decisions about allocating one billion US dollars to security needs in Eastern Europe," 

The PM's comments come after NATO allies said they would boost their presence in eastern Europe amid what it see's as a threat from Russia.

Vice President Joe Biden said the US was committed to defending its NATO allies amid what Baltic officials see as a threat from Russia. More NATO troops and tanks would rotate throughout the Baltics to send strong signals to Russia, ELTA reports. 

Plans to export Lithuanian meat products to the US would also be discussed, Biden said, after Russia and the EU imposed food sanctions on each other earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, Butkevicius noted that the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal in Klaipeda is exceptionally important for energy security of the region.

"This project is important for the whole region of East Baltics, since it allows implementing alternative gas supply resources and integrates the Baltic States into the internal market of the continental EU.

"The opening of the LNG Terminal in Klaipeda indicates the beginning of de facto energy independence of Lithuania,"

An opening ceremony of the terminal will be held on October 27 this year.