President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Speech by President Dalia Grybauskaitė at a welcome ceremony for the U.S. fighter jets

2016-04-27

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Transatlantic cooperation and the presence of the United States in Europe have always been a firm guarantee for a whole, free and peaceful Europe.

Twelve years ago, Lithuania together with other six nations became part of the transatlantic community of shared values, mutual trust and solidarity. Since then, collective defense and strategic partnership with the United States have formed the essential core of Lithuanian security.

As the Ukrainian example shows, Russia’s aggressive military actions, the buildup of troops and weapons around our borders, and its political will to use force pose an existential threat to Lithuania.

It is also a serious challenge to the Alliance.

We are grateful to the United States for its firm commitments to European security. The decision to substantially increase defense spending for European security, to send more troops and modern military equipment strengthens NATO’s deterrence posture in our region. It also increases the capability of the United States to respond quickly, timely and flexibly to threats in Europe.

The landing of the most modern U.S. fighter jets on Lithuanian soil demonstrates that the United States can ensure rapid and effective airspace defense. It is a strong signal that the Alliance is fully prepared and capable to counter any challenge or threat.

Today Lithuania has demonstrated that it can host, smoothly and effectively, sophisticated military forces. We would like to emphasize once again that we are ready to share the burden with the United States and with NATO by providing the necessary host nation support. We are determined to further reinforce our defenses, increase defense spending and modernize our military capabilities.

We believe that the leadership of the United States and the message of solidarity sent by these fighter jets today will impact NATO’s decisions at its upcoming Warsaw Summit.

Thank you.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Last updated 2016.04.27 13:50

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