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Minister of National Defense Rasa Juknevičenė and a delegation from January 3 to January 8 will conduct a work visit in the United States of America (USA) where formal meetings with the new US Secretary of Defense Leon Edward Panetta and other top-ranking US defense officials will be arranged. It is the third National Defense Minister’s visit in the United States. The aim of the visit is to shed some light on the security situation in the Baltic region, and to discuss perspectives of collaboration in defense and security areas.

“My view is that Lithuania’s partnership with USA in defense area is a key condition for fortifying and preserving Lithuania’s statehood, therefore I am really moved about the opportunity to look into the most important security points for our region together”, said R. Juknevičienė.

In the meetings with the US officials regional security challenges, US-Lithuanian defense cooperation, NATO Air policing, accreditation of the NATO Center of Excellence, the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago, and transfer of responsibility in Afghanistan will be addressed.

Minister of National Defense will also meet with Alexander Vershbow, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to L.E. Panetta, who is expected to be assigned as NATO Deputy Secretary General in spring, with Deputy

Secretary of State William J. Burns, and with Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.

Moreover, R. Juknevičienė and her delegation will take part in a series of discussions with scientists who work on security and defense in Washington and Chicago: a discussion will be arranged in the Atlantic Council and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Lithuanian Minister will also conduct meetings with Maj Gen Wesley Craig, the Adjutant General of Pennsylvania and Commander and the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Lithuanian-American Community.