On 16 January President Valdas Adamkus left for a two-day working visit to the United States of America.
On 17 January, US President George W. Bush received the Lithuanian leader. The meeting focused on the issues of bilateral relations, fight against international terrorism and NATO enlargement.
US President Bush commended Lithuania for its efforts to integrate in NATO and noted that those efforts were appreciated. The US President reiterated the support for NATO enlargement and called Lithuania the leading aspiring country. He also emphasised that all states aspiring to the membership of NATO should keep the pace of preparation for the NATO membership, as their level of preparedness would have a decisive impact on enlargement decisions.
President Adamkus noted that Lithuania was most seriously preparing for assuming NATO membership obligations and expected to receive the invitation to join the Alliance already this year.
The Lithuanian leader recalled that his meeting with President George W. Bush was scheduled on 11 September 2001, but was recalled because of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. President Adamkus reiterated Lithuania’s support for the efforts of the US-led counter-terrorist coalition. The President also noted that Lithuania was acting as a NATO partner.
President Bush thanked Lithuania for support for the fight against terrorism and active involvement in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. The US leader encouraged Lithuania to continue reforms necessary for NATO membership.
In the course of discussion about the further development of the US-Lithuania relations, President Bush emphasised that it was particularly important to improve the investment climate in Lithuania.
The participants of the meeting also exchanged views on the Holocaust-related matters. The US president positively evaluated Lithuania’s efforts to ensure the protection of the Jewish present-day culture and historic heritage.
The participants also touched upon the relations with the neighbouring states. The heads of the two states expressed hope that Russia would continue its constructive co-operation with both NATO member states and the candidate countries.
Prior to the meeting of the US and Lithuanian Presidents, Mrs. Alma Adamkiene and Mrs. Laura Bush met in the White House. The First Ladies discussed the issues of education and the youth. Mrs. Alma Adamkiene also introduced her charity foundation and her endeavour to support parentless children.
The meeting of the First Ladies was also attended by Alma Powel, spouse of US Defence Secretary Colin Powel, Mariela Teft, spouse of US Ambassador to Lithuania, and Loreta Usackiene, spouse of the Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States.
The same day, the President of Lithuania met with the IMF Managing Director, Horst Kohler.
Horst Kohler informed President Adamkus about the study initiated by the International Monetary Fund, which addressed different aspects of integration of three Baltic countries in NATO and the European Union. According to the IMF, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have financial resources necessary for addressing the needs of integration in NATO and EU and are able to implement the measures necessary to ensure macroeconomic stability, which is one of the requirements for NATO and EU membership.
President Adamkus noted that Lithuania, who was working to achieve its key foreign policy goals of NATO and EU membership, highly appreciated positive evaluation of the IMF.
The IMF officials marked the successful course of economic reforms and an appropriate fiscal and monetary policy of Lithuania.
The Lithuanian leader noted that both advice and analysis of IMF were important to Lithuania.
In Washington D.C., the President also had lunch with representatives of twenty well-known US companies. The lunch was arranged in the Embassy of Lithuania.
At the meeting with US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Samuel Bodman, the President of Lithuania discussed the tendencies and further promotion of bilateral trade.
The same day, the President met with Andrew Baker, member of the American Jewish Committee, and had dinner with the members of the US Committee on NATO.
On 18 January, the President of Lithuania met with US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz.
President Adamkus informed the US Deputy Secretary of Defence about Lithuania’s preparations for NATO membership. The Lithuanian President assured that Lithuania was determined to respect her commitment of allocating for defence needs 2 per cent of GDP. The President also underlined the rational use of allocated fund for the modernisation of the national Armed Forces.
“Our goal is to have a modern and well prepared, although not necessarily big, armed forces equipped with up-to-date equipment and weaponry,” President Adamkus said.
The US Deputy Secretary of Defence positively evaluated the service of Lithuanian soldiers in peacekeeping missions and their action in support of antiterrorist coalition. He underscored that Lithuania as a small state contributed considerably by demonstrating support for the fight against international terrorism.
Relations with neighbouring states were also discussed at the meeting.
At the end of the visit to the Pentagon President Adamkus laid the wreath of flowers at the memorial to the victims of September 11.
During the TV bridge Washington D.C.-Vilnius, the President of Lithuania informed about the results of the meeting with US President George W. Bush. He also answered the questions of Lithuanian reporters. The discussion focused on issues relating to the US position to NATO enlargement, relations with Russia, the US investments in Lithuania.
In Washington D.C., the President of Lithuania also had meeting with deputy editor Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post. Jackson Diehl asked the President about achievements of Lithuania’s foreign policy, economic development of the country and investment climate in Lithuania.
During the NBC talk show One to One President Adamkus answered the questions of an outstanding US reporter John McLaughlin about the international security situation, Lithuania’s aspiration to integrate in Euro-Atlantic structures, and his personal and family life.
On 18 January the President of Lithuania departed from Washington D.C. to Chicago.
ScheduleMedia about the visit
Photos:Meeting with President George BushAlma Adamkiene and Laura BushWreath-laying to the victims of September 11th, ArlingtonInterview for John Mclaughlin's One on One
Press Service of the President