Lithuania in the news
10th March 2004
Lithuania joins NATO!
The ratification of the NATO accession treaty by Lithuania's Parliament last Wednesday, March 10, and its signing next day by President Paksas in a formal ceremony, were the final steps in Lithuania becoming a fully fledged member of NATO.

This follows the ratification of this treaty earlier by all the 19 current NATO members. All that now remains is the formal lodgement of this treaty in Washington. The achievement of NATO membership is one of the two crowning achievements of Lithuania's diplomacy over the last 10 years, the other being Lithuania's forthcoming membership of the European Union on May 1.

The choice of March 11 for the signing of the treaty by the President turned out to be highly symbolic. It was 14 years earlier on March 11, 1990, that Lithuania declared the re-establishment of its independence, following 50 years of Soviet occupation, the first country in the Soviet Union to do so. Lithuania initially applied for NATO membership in 1994 - again the first country from the former Soviet block to do so.

Sources: BNS March 10, 2004, "Lietuvos Rytas" March 12, 2004