Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cheney and All Other Democrats in Vilnius

It's a pleasantly warm and sunny morning in Vilnius. The leaders of the democratic East of Europe have now begun their discussions. But a lot of the early attention is centered on the visitor fram far away.

It is not that usual for the Vice President of the United States to venture on foreign policy missions. But today he is here at the Vilnius Conference. It is cedrtainly a sign of the importance that thev US attaches to the region, its values and its stability.

Dick Cheney called the Baltic region "the frontline of freedom in the modern world." He reminded of the decades of Soviet occupation, but also pointed at the extraordinary democratic and economic success of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during the past 15 years.

Good words.

And now the meetings goes on. Javier Solana has taken over the chair, and President Saakashvili of Georgia is speaking as I write these comments. And after that we'll listen to the UK Minister for European Affairs Doiuglas Alexander and European Parliament representative Elmar Brok.

Then I will be chairing the next session with, among others, President Yushenko from Ukraine as well as - then speaking his mind - Javier Solana.