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On the eve of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Day (23 November), Rasa Jukneviciene, Lithuanian Defence Minister and deputy chair of the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said that if Lithuania does not increase its defense funding, the country may be unable to perform the duties of a NATO country, Veidas weekly magazine wrote on 22 November.
Veidas – Was the statement an exaggeration? Are the 870 million Litas planned for 2011 not enough to maintain our defense system? These were the first questions we asked the defense minister.
Jukneviciene – The numbers and the real situation speak for themselves. Latvia, Poland, and Estonia can allocate more to defense than Lithuania can right now. This is why my warnings that Lithuania may be unable to perform duties of a NATO country are justified. I would like to remind you that when Lithuania was in the process of joining NATO, it promised that it would be a perfect member of NATO. However, after Lithuania joined NATO, all the promises and efforts vanished for some reason. There is an article in the NATO Treaty, according to which each country, together with the other NATO members, is responsible for the defense of its territory. After Lithuania joined NATO, the people were lulled into believing that Lithuania was safe and that it did not need to do anything, that all we needed to do was to participate in missions, and that we did not need to pay any serious attention to our own defense. NATO’s work is based on certain principles; its strength actually depends on the strength of its members.
Leader of the third most popular political party of Lithuania, currently is in opposition, announced that Lithuania should be the first country in the world abolishing the representative democracy and introducing direct democracy instead. Rolandas Paksas, Lithuania’s impeached President, currently a Member of the European Parliament and the leader of the Order and Justice Party suggested this today, during his party’s convention, where he was reelected as the party leader.
Read all article on the Lithuania Tribune
The opposition managed to start the interpellation against the Minister of Energy Arvydas Sekmokas. The initiator of the interpellation, the elder of the opposition Order and Justice party Valentinas Mazuronis said that the text of interpellation contains questions ‘about the gas sector, the situation in the energy sector, there are also questions about the ministry’s financial and economic matters, as well as possible employment of relatives and party fellows.
Read all text on the Lithuania Tribune
Some 15 protesters staged a demonstration in the front of the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Vilnius today. They held placards ‘Freedom for Tibet political prisoners’, ‘Freedom for Liu Xiaobo’. The protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the Human Rights situation in China and expressed support for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
Read more on the Lithuania Tribune
Lithuania’s Public Television announced that Latvia agreed to host the Guantanamo detainee, who is originally from one of the Central Asian Republics. Lithuania, who promised to host a several detainees from Guantanamo, has changed its mind.
The Public Television informed that the President Grybauskaite has already decided not to host the detainees already back in October of 2009.
The first solar cell production line was opened in Vilnius on 26 January. Modernios E-technologijos (MET) and Precizika Metrology (PM) invested some 10 million Litas into the project. According to a press release from the Ministry of Economy other five Lithuania companies are ready to start production of solar cells.
Dainius Kreivys, the Minister of Economy participated in opening of the production line and hoped that this is a beginning of whole new sector in Lithuania’s economy, which could grow into a significant industry and would become a pillar of growth. Mr Kreivys is quoted in the press release saying, ‘ It is estimated that the clean-tech sector is creating seven times more of added value than traditional industries. I hope that this investment will become a great example of how high technology is becoming a every day reality in the Lithuania’s industry.”
Today, the Lithuanian commercial TV station LNK claimed that Lithuania’s Foreign Minister’s resignation letter will land on the President Grybauskaite’s desk tomorrow, 20 January.
According to the report, the Prime Minister Andrius Kubulius who is scheduled to meet the President tomorrow will bring the letter. Presidential Spokesperson Linas Balsys said to BNS, “In response to the prime minister’s request, the president will meet him to discuss the political situation in the country, the ruling coalition’s issue and the issue of Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas”.
The Prime Minister said to the Public Radio today that Usackas should work harder to regain the President’s trust. He said, “Any minister has to have both the president’s and the prime minister’s trust. If this trust is lacking – speaking of the president’s trust with regards to specific ministers – we all are certainly prepared to spare no effort to restore this trust, and this should first of all be the responsibility of the minister.”
One of the last remaining political Mohican of Lithuania, Mr Brazauskas has admitted to the Lietuvos Rytas daily that he is suffering from the lymphatic node cancer. The former President, Prime Minister and honorary chairman of the Lithuania’s Social Democrat Party, the last First Secretary of the Lithuania’s Communist Party was informed about his condition on December.
As the paper reports Mr Brazauskas has undergone four chemotherapy sessions, however, even though the cancer development has stabilised the healing is not happening either. Mr Brazauskas, who is 76, was advised to undertake an aggressive treatment and is on the hormone treatment currently. ‘As you see my face is swallowed, I have to take some forty tablets of prednizol a day.’
It was an open secret that Mr Brazauskas was gravely ill. Media speculated that he was treated from the prostate cancer few years earlier, apparently successfully. Ms Grybauskaite, Lithuania’s President elect was a Minister of Finance in the Brazauskas’ cabinet before she was delegated to the EU Commission.
According to the delfi.lt web portal the French President Nicolas Sarkozy has invited the Lithuania’s President-elect Ms Dalia Grybauskaite to France. When she was asked which country she will visit first Ms Grybauskaite told that she should go where it will be in the best interest of Lithuania.
Some of the political scientists predict that Lithuania’s foreign policy will change by diverting some of its focus from the Easter partners to the Western Europe. The so-called strategic partnership with Poland might be followed with a less enthusiasm also. But all of it still remains to be seen.
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