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Afghanistan discussed at NATO Summit

Saturday, April 4, Strasbourg - President Valdas Adamkus, who is attending the NATO anniversary summit, took part in the North Atlantic Council Meeting's morning session entitled "Global Challenges for NATO in Afghanistan".

President Adamkus, who spoke at the beginning of the session immediately after US President Barack Obama, said that Lithuania would continue to lead, effectively and responsibly, the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Ghor Province of western Afghanistan and that this mission remained Lithuanian priority. He further said that Lithuania would increase its contingent during the upcoming presidential elections just like it had already increased its contribution to the special operations forces in the South of Afghanistan.

President Adamkus stressed the importance of consistent and sustainable distribution of support to different Afghan regions, pointing out that it was cheaper and more meaningful to invest into maintaining stability than into creating it.

"It is better to provide more funds to the poorest provinces than to have to fight the Taliban there later on. To this end, Lithuania is prepared to work with all partners and all donor countries," Mr. Adamkus said.

He went on to say that this year Lithuania would increase its force contribution to Afghanistan, including the southern region of the country.

"In the run-up to the Summit, Lithuania has decided to remove all caveats for all Lithuanian forces in Afghanistan. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage ISAF nations to do the same," Mr. Adamkus said.

He underlined that Lithuania supported the new US strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan and understood that ultimate success lay in a strong Afghan army and police. Therefore, a broadened ANA (Afghan National Army) Trust Fund was greatly important.

"I believe that through joint efforts we will make our mission in Afghanistan successful and that Lithuania will find strong support for its actions and activities," Mr. Adamkus said.


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