Lithuania in the News
10th February 2008
Lithuania Hosts Vital NATO Defence Ministers Meeting
NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, meeting
President Adamkus of Lithuania.
Photo courtesy President of Lithuania website.
NATO Defence Ministers have just concluded a meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania. The meeting on February 07-08, 2008, was chaired by the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and hosted by Lithuania’s Defence Minister, Juozas Olekas. There were delegations from over 40 countries, including countries associated with NATO. With about 1,000 attendees, including near 300 journalists, it was the biggest NATO meeting in Lithuania to date. Attending the NATO meeting were the Australian Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, as well the chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston.
In welcoming the delegates Mr. Olekas stated: "It is symbolic that we have an opportunity to discuss NATO issues here in Vilnius - a city, which during its long history has been a place of dialogue among different cultures, religions and nations. In 2009, Vilnius will become a European Capital of Culture, but at least for today and tomorrow, Vilnius is the capital of NATO."
Key issues over the two day meeting were the Alliance`s commitment to Afghanistan and Kosovo. Included in the discussions
Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas addressing
the NATO meeting. Photo courtesy NATO website.
were an informal session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission and a working lunch of the NATO-Russia Council. In parallel with the NATO meeting, the Institute of Democratic Politics invited Lithuanian opinion leaders and international visitors to the Chodkevičius Palace in Vilnius to a public debate on "NATO: values and future perspectives".
The city of Vilnius took the opportunity to publicise Vilnius as a European Capital of Culture in 2009. The delegates were invited to a non-traditional exhibition about Vilnius and its multi-faceted culture. A NATO related art exhibition "co-OPERATION", expressing the vision of NATO in different forms of visual arts, was opened by Mr. de Hoop Scheffer. All delegates received welcoming kits containing printed material and CD’s about Lithuania, in particular about Vilnius 2009. Also included was a CD, "Sandman’s child", by the singer Jurga Đeduikytë, who recently was voted as the best Baltic singer in the MTV awards. Not so long ago she visited and sang for Lithuanian troops stationed in Afghanistan and the CD includes songs and videos from her Afghanistan trip. In Afghanistan, Lithuania leads a Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Ghor province and deploys Special Forces units in the South.
Further information:
NATO Defence Ministers meeting - 7/02/08, 8/02/08