Following the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, Lithuania’s Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius is summoning Minister of the Interior Saulius Skvernelis and State Security Department Darius Jauniškis for an urgent meeting on security.
According to Prime Minister Butkevičius, the meeting will focus on ways to contribute to international efforts against terrorism, as well as measures to ensure domestic security, DELFI informed. The question arises about the country’s readiness to cope with a similar situation.
It’s generally known that the National security strategy of the Republic of Lithuania is noting international terrorism as one of the factors forming Lithuania‘s security policy agenda. Yet, it is believed that this threat to Lithuania is more in the realm of hypothetical.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on its website that, “the current internal environment and historical experience do not create conditions for terrorist groups to be formed.” In light of recent events I would say it is a very controversial statement. Even more – dangerously delusional.
Though Lithuania is actively participating in international counter-terrorism frameworks, this activity hasn’t made our country’s security stronger. After the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, Lithuanians feel fear and are not sure about the government’s ability to defend them at home.
It seems as if our authorities more often rely on outside help, instead of taking separate steps to ensure domestic security. It is high time to develop our own anti-terrorist strategy.
Understandably, our government faces a very difficult choice: to continue strengthening our armed forces, engage more and more foreign troops to counter the threat from the East or switch to another activity – to enhance efforts against terrorism. For at least the past two years the Baltic States have feared an enemy with trained troops, fighters and tanks, but these latest terrorist attacks show another even more real threat – terrorism.
According to Lithuania’s National Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, Lithuania at the moment would be ready to accept 6,000-8,000 NATO troops without any major logistical issues. If even not taking into account the fact that according to Article 137 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, “there may not be any weapons of mass destruction and foreign military bases on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania”, I would like to see that common sense has prevailed.
In other words, we have made every effort to repel a possible military attack, but have done nothing to counter terrorism. Thus, Lithuanian authorities are acting illogically, and not properly prioritizing its activities.
*Adomas Abromaitis, a Lithuanian expatriate living in the United Kingdom