President Valdas Adamkus, the naturalized American citizen who returned to Lithuania to win election in December 1997, is determined to multiply his country’s links to central Europe and the West.
With Adamkus in the chair, Lithuania’s Defense Council resolved last week to sell an additional 33 percent stake in the country’s oil sector to the United States bidder, Williams International. Williams already owns one-third of the sector, which includes a pipeline, an oil refinery and a seaport terminal. Williams outbid Russian oil producer LUKoil, which earlier this year had cut supplies of crude to the refinery to pressure the government into accepting its bid and to signal Williams that supplies are vulnerable. The sale to Williams still needs parliamentary approval, which is anticipated.
A day later, Adamkus joined President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland at ceremonies marking the inauguration of a Lithuanian-Polish joint battalion. The battalion, planned since 1996, is jointly funded and commanded alternately by Polish and Lithuanian officers. It is intended to help bring Lithuanian forces up to the standards necessary for entry into NATO. Poland has a similar joint battalion with Ukraine.