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On January 6, Friday, Minister of National Defense Rasa Juknevičienė discussed points of regional security and prospects of the Baltic Air Policing mission in a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the US Department of Defense. Apart from that, the meeting defense authorities addressed the new list of US defense and security priorities announced by US President and Secretary of Defense several days ago that encompass a shift of focus on the Asian Pacific Region and modulations with regard to decreased defense financing.

“However, I was reassured at the meeting that USA remains committed to Europe and Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty entrenching collective defense of all the members of the Alliance. US and NATO presence in our region is crucial”, Minister said.

Considerable attention during the conversation was paid to political points and civil protests in Russia in response to the recent Duma elections. According to R. Juknevičienė, people of Russia are no longer intimidated by their Government which brings out optimistic expectations for positive changes in the future. Lithuanian Minister also noted that Russia attempts to maintain influence in the Baltic Region via energy and information areas.

Minister of National Defense and delegation also joined a discussion with the North Atlantic Council, ambassadors of other allies, and scientists. In the event she reaffirmed the vital role of the US partnership for Lithuania’s defense.

Later Lithuanian Minister met with Maj Gen Wesley Craig, the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania and Commander and the Pennsylvania National Guard and participated in a reception at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in commemoration of 13 January 1991.