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LITHUANIA AND THE U.S.A. SIGNED A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING


2008.03.18

On 17 March, Lithuanian Ambassador to the U.S.A. Audrius Brūzga and the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed a Memorandum of Understanding between Lithuania and the U.S.A. regarding the implementation of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program requirements and related enhanced security measures.

Bilateral intentions to first agree on waiving the U.S. visas for the Lithuanian citizens are embedded in this Memorandum.

 ‘In Lithuania we honestly believe in the values of a free society and its advantages. A possibility to freely travel is an important precondition of such a society. It would be difficult to find better partners in strategic cooperation issues than Europe and the United States of America, therefore, our people should take advantage of every benefit of such a partnership,’ said Ambassador A.Brūzga after the signing ceremony.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a document of political intentions, describing determination of both parties to start a close cooperation, so that Lithuania could join the U.S. Visa Waiver Program as quickly as possible.

The Memorandum confirms the readiness of the countries to strengthen the cooperation among their law-enforcement institutions, seeking to increase the effectiveness of readmission measures and to strengthen the airport security control, guaranteeing information exchange on lost personal identity documents and persons that might threaten the security of society. The parties will seek to guarantee equal entrance conditions for the citizens of both countries.

This Memorandum is not an agreement, which announces the introduction of a visa-free regime. The signing of the Memorandum is only the first step, but it is a very important one. In the Memorandums signed between the U.S.A. and other countries including Lithuania, a concrete date of the actual visa requirement lifting is not mentioned.

In April a delegation of experts of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intend to visit Vilnius. During this visit, it is intended to agree on the ways and terms of implementation of concrete principles that are set out in the Memorandum, seeking to introduce a visa-free regime with the U.S.A.

Slovakia and Hungary signed Memorandums together with Lithuania. The Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia have signed the Memorandum already.


 


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