Lithuania in the News
28th February 2010
Major Responsibilities for Lithuania in International Diplomacy
Vygaudas Uđackas, EU envoy to
Afghanistan. Photo courtesy
The European Union (EU) announced on February 22, 2010, the appointment of Lithuania’s Vygaudas Uđackas as the EU special envoy to Afghanistan and the head of EU mission there. Mr. Uđackas is Lithuania’s former foreign minister and he is only the second person from the new states in the expanded EU to head one of the EU’s foreign missions. He will take up his post in Kabul in April this year.
This is a very important diplomatic post and a noteworthy recognition for Lithuania. Mr. Uđackas has had extensive diplomatic experience and has served as Lithuania’s ambassador in the USA and in the UK, as well as having been as Lithuania's chief negotiator for Lithuania’s accession to the EU. Most of the EU States have troops in Afghanistan. Lithuania itself has about 200 soldiers in Afghanistan – with troops in charge of reconstruction in the Ghor province and special forces elsewhere in the country.
Lithuanian soldiers in Afghanistan
greeting locals. Photo courtesy
Lithuania is to take up even more international challenges in the future. During 2011 Lithuania will have the very important role of chairing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the first country among the Baltic States to hold this post. Further down the track, in the second half of 2013 it will be the job of Lithuania to co-ordinate the work of the European Union, when it takes up the EU presidency July-December 2013.
Lithuania’s Millennium Year during 2009 also saw Lithuania take up significant international initiatives and host important international meetings. In October 2009 Lithuania hosted the first ever Asia-Europe Transport Ministers’ Meeting (ASEM) in Vilnius, which explored the building of transport bridges between Europe and Asia. Since July 2009 Lithuania has held the Presidency of the Council of The Baltic Sea States (until June 2010). Also in July 2009 Lithuania took up the chairmanship of the Community of Democracies, which comprises over 100 countries.

Further information: 22/02/10 24/02/10