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Minister R. Karoblis met with Minister of Defence of Norway F. Bakke-Jensen


On April 24 Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis met with Minister of Defence of Norway Frank Bakke-Jensen conducting a visit in Lithuania and discussed bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and Norway on strengthening defence capabilities and force interoperability.


Among the topics discussed where both countries’ objectives in the upcoming NATO Summit , deployment of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic states and Poland , security in the Baltic region, and the increasing Russia threat.


“Neither, Lithuania nor Norway, are large countries, both border Russia, however, the history of our countries went different ways, therefore Lithuania’s experience in countering the threat coming from Russia is very valuable,” Minister of Defence of Norway said.


When briefing his counterpart on the Russian threats R. Karoblis underscored that the security situation was not improving. “Russia continues its efforts to build on the influence in the region, therefore a stronger air defence and ensuring further NATO deterrence is vital , including adding air and maritime dimensions to the NATO eFP Battalion the Battle Group of which is also manned by Lithuania and Norway,” R. Karoblis.


According to Minister of Defence of Norway F. Bakke-Jensen, international cooperation starts with one’s neighbours and that is a good way to ensure stability in the region. “The NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion is an excellent example of collective defence,” he stressed.


When addressing the upcoming NATO Summit, Ministers agreed that the most important objective was to ensure the adaptation of the NATO Command Structure, improvement of interoperability, and simplification of military mobility procedures.


Wednesday, April 25, R. Karoblis will welcome Norway’s Royal couple, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, at the Ministry of National Defence to meet with Norwegian troops serving in the NATO eFP Battle Group in Lithuania, its Commander Lt Col Wolf Rudiger Otto, and Commander of the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) in Lithuania Lt Col Jakob Sogard Larsen.


Later Lithuanian and Norwegian Defence Ministers will visit the General S.Žukauskas Training Area in Pabradė and meet with the leadership of the Mechanised Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and Norwegian soldiers serving in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania integrated into the Brigade. In 2017 Norway contributed roughly 200 soldiers with equipment and weaponry to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania, and in the first semester of this year over 40 Norwegian troops serve in the NATO eFP.


Lithuania and Norway are developing defence cooperation in several areas: defence policy planning, training. Ministers, Chiefs of Defence, Policy Directors, etc., are constantly convening in multilateral formats: Nordic-Baltic, Northern, UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) that contributes to a stronger defence cooperation. Norway also deployed three rotations of troops and aircraft so far to the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states conducted from Šiauliai (in 2005, 2007, and 2015).


Photo credits: Giedrė Maksimovicz (MoD)

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