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Tuesday, December 6, Vilnius - President Dalia Grybauskaitė and the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, currently participating in the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, discussed regional security issues and preparedness for the NATO summit to be held in Chicago next spring.

According to the President, NATO’s visibility and real presence are highly important as the number of the armed forces and weapons located in the neighborhood of Lithuania and the Baltic States is increasing and intense military training is conducted.

Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that with a view to the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago it was vital that such issues as NATO’s capacity to provide equal defense to all member states, to ensure the independence of the NATO defense (e.g. anti-missile defense) systems from those of other countries or alliances, would remain among key priorities. Finally, for the defense to be effective it is necessary to achieve that the air police mission in the Baltics be permanent.

Lithuania not only seeks the defense of its people but also contributes to the enlargement of the NATO capacities. Lithuanian soldiers who participate in international operations and the Energy Security Center which has been established this year and should become a NATO accredited center of excellence – these are the most visible contributions of Lithuania.

“Lithuania is an active and innovative country – an equal partner of the Alliance,” the President said. She underlined that it was important not to spend more but to spend more effectively, with a greater focus on new challenges and the development of technologies.

In 2012, Lithuania will take over the chairmanship of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation, therefore the prospects of enhancing cooperation between the United States and the Nordic-Baltic region were also among the topics featured at the meeting.