Archive for the ‘Lithuania’ Category

Lithuania, Poland Leaders Warn EU Against Russia Talks “Until Georgia Fully Protected”

November 3, 2008

The smaller countries with a history of bad experiences with Russia are telling the others to be more cautious….

Russian soldiers ride by an APC in the village of Nabakevi outside ... 
Russian soldiers ride by an APC in the village of Nabakevi outside the town of Gal. Russia Tuesday declared its opposition to deploying European Union monitors in Georgia’s rebel provinces, while Russian rights groups reported pillaging in Georgian border villages.(AFP/Ibragim Chkadua)

VILNIUS (AFP)–There should be no European Union talks with Russia until it fully respects the ceasefire with Georgia, the leaders of Lithuania and Poland insisted Monday.

In a joint statement, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and his Polish opposite number Lech Kaczynski, said they were “deeply concerned with the lack of will on the Russian side.”

Adamkus and Kaczynski highlighted a failure to respect ceasefire clauses covering the withdrawal of Russian troops to pre-conflict positions and on free access to humanitarian aid.

Both Lithuania and Poland are staunch allies of Georgia’s pro-Western leadership.

Adamkus and Kaczynski called for the ceasefire to be “internationally observed and verified” by both the E.U. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Monitors should be given unfettered access to the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow has recognized as independent states. E.U. monitors have so far been unable to gain access to the territories.

And they also drew attention to what they said were the increasing numbers of Russian troops in the region.

Although the E.U. brokered the ceasefire that ended the brief conflict between Georgia and Russia in August, the diplomatic aftermath has divided E.U. member states.

Some western member states, anxious not to antagonize Russia with a tough stance, have suggested that the current Russian pull-back has been sufficient.

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Gates cites European anger over Iraq

February 8, 2008
By Robert Burns, Associated Press military Affairs Writer

MUNICH, Germany – Lingering anger in Europe over the U.S. invasion of Iraq explains why some allies are reluctant to heed U.S. calls for more combat troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday. It was his first public acknowledgment of such a link to the Iraq war.

Gates said he would attempt in a speech here Sunday at an international security conference to decouple perceptions of the Iraq war, in which NATO has no fighting role, from views of Afghanistan, where NATO is in charge of the fighting but has fallen short on commanders’ requests for more troops.

On a flight to Munich from Vilnius, Lithuania, where he attended two days of NATO talks dominated by Afghanistan, Gates associated Iraq with what lay behind Europe’s general skepticism about fighting in Afghanistan.

“From our perspective, I worry that for many Europeans the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan are confused,” he told reporters traveling with him, implicitly acknowledging a political cost of the Iraq invasion.

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