In what was the final visit in his Poland and Baltic States introductory tour, the Commander Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, visited Lithuania to meet with the Minister of Defence, Mr. Juozas Olekas, and the Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Jonas Žukas.
During a productive session between the two, General Farina and Mr. Olekas discussed assurance measures such as the Readiness Action Plan and the establishment of the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU), and the expectations for the upcoming NATO Warsaw Summit. Mr. Olekas provided the Defence Ministry view of the current security situation affecting Lithuania, the Baltics and the region and measures to increase Defence and Host Nation Support budgets.
During Staff Talks which followed, General Farina was provided with a detailed explanation of the Lithuanian security situation, the strategic importance of the country and the level of coordination required to synchronize national, bilateral and NATO exercises planned to take place in the country.
Prior to completing his visit, General Farina visited the Lithuanian NFIU to receive a comprehensive overview of its role and status. Led by a Danish Colonel, the NFIU, on its way to become 'Fully Capable', is performing above the level expected of it in many areas. Afterwards, both Generals signed the Base Support Agreement (BSA) on behalf of the Lithuanian Defence Forces and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The BSA provides the legal basis to operate on Lithuanian soil and establishes all necessary regulations regarding base support.
The NFIU in Lithuania is one of the six small new headquarters established by NATO in Central and Eastern European member countries. It was inaugurated on 3rd September, 2015, at a formal ceremony attended by NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė. Since then it has provided support to NATO forces; its primary responsibility is to facilitate the rapid deployment of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in response to the recent changes in the European security environment. "I am deeply impressed by the level of professionalism, willingness and expertise of the Lithuanian Defence Forces", General Farina stated by the end of his visit.
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