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Lithuania preparing to host int'l conference in Vilnius 3-5 May 06

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  • Lithuania preparing to host int'l conference in Vilnius 3-5 May 06

    Lithuania preparing to host international conference in Vilnius 3-5 May 06

    Kauno Diena, Kaunas
    28 Apr 06

    Twenty-six high-ranking delegations from different countries of the
    world will take part in a large international conference that will be
    held in Vilnius next week.

    More than 2000 police officers will maintain order in the centre of
    Vilnius, when dozens of important guests from many different countries
    of the world will arrive to the large international conference in
    Vilnius. The three-day forum, which will cost 2 million litas to the
    government, will take place in several places in Vilnius; therefore,
    strict city security and strict traffic restrictions have been

    US Vice President Is Expected To Participate

    Even 26 top-ranking delegations are expected to participate in the
    Vilnius conference - Common Vision for Common
    Neighbourhood. Presidents of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova,
    Georgia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, US Vice President Dick Cheney,
    Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and
    Security Policy, NATO Deputy Chief Alessandro Minuto Rizzo,
    Azerbaijan's Prime Minister Artur Rasizade, Swedish Deputy Prime
    Minister Bose Rinkholm, foreign ministers of Armenia, Belgium, and
    Spain, European affairs ministers of the UK and Germany, other high
    ranking officials will come to the Lithuanian capital to discuss
    Europe's eastern policy and the future of the Baltic-Black Sea region.

    During the international conference, youth, public organizations, and
    individual intellectuals will hold various forums. The forums will be
    attended by scientists, political analysts and experts from many
    countries of the European Union, the United States,
    Canada. Representatives of public organizations from Russia and
    Belarus opposition representatives will also attend the forums.

    Former Belarus opposition's presidential candidate, Alexander
    Milinkevich, was supposed to take part in the forum. However,
    yesterday special agencies detained him at the order of Belarus
    President Alexander Lukashenka. He will spend 15 days in jail.

    Meeting of Presidents To Top The Agenda

    The conference will end with the meeting of the presidents on 4
    May. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and Polish President Lech
    Kaczynski will be hosting the meeting.

    By the way, the Polish president will commemorate the Constitution Day
    on 3 May, and the Latvian president will commemorate the country's
    Independence Day on 4 May in Vilnius.

    Plans have been made to announce a common declaration of the
    presidents. Moreover, bilateral talks between presidents and other
    officials will be held during the forum.

    Approximately 500 guests will come to Vilnius. Almost 200 accredited
    reporters will be covering the event.

    Some Will Bring Their Wives

    Five presidents and top officials, including Cheney, will travel to
    the conference with their significant others. There has been a
    separate programme planed for them. Alma Adamkiene, the wife of the
    Lithuanian president, will entertain the first ladies.

    The presidents will start arriving in Vilnius on 3 May. In the evening
    of the same day there will be a reception held at the President's
    Palace. The presidents' conference will be held on Thursday at Reval
    Hotel Lithuania.

    During lunchtime, there will be another reception. It will be held at
    the Sky Bar, located on the 22nd floor of the hotel. The dinner, which
    will end the conference, will be held at Prie Belmonto Kriokliu

    Various events of the forum will also be held at the President's
    Office, the University of Vilnius, and the Forum Palace Conference
    Centre. Press offices will be set up at the President's Office, Reval
    Hotel Lithuania, and Naujasis Vilnius (New Vilnius) Hotel.

    The guests will be staying at nine hotels in the city. The majority
    will be staying at Reval Hotel Lithuania and Naujasis Vilnius. By the
    way, the Cheney family will be staying in presidential suites at Reval
    Hotel Lithuania.

    Common folk will not be able to rent rooms at this hotel during 3-5
    May. Special attention will be devoted for the safety of this hotel.

    The majority of the guests will leave Vilnius Thursday evening; some
    will stay until Friday.

    Year of Preparation

    Almost a year was spent preparing for the Vilnius Conference: Common
    Vision for Common Neighbourhood. Several dozen officials from the
    President's Office the Foreign Ministry and Polish diplomats have been
    organizing the conference.

    Two million litas has been allocated for the forum from the Lithuanian

    The logo of the conference shows silhouettes of two people holding
    hands. Different shades of blue colour symbolize two regions of
    Europe: the light blue symbolizes countries of the Baltic Sea region,
    dark blue - countries of the Black Sea Region. The event's organizers
    explained that, "the people holding hands are forming a circle, which
    is symbolizing close cooperation of Europe's many regions in the areas
    of science, culture, business, politics, and in other important areas
    of life."

    Will Guard Bridges

    Due to the visits of the presidents and top officials, traffic in the
    capital will be restricted. In addition, safety measures will be
    increased. According to State Security Department Director Raimundas
    Kairys, "all special agencies of Lithuania will participate in
    ensuring safety of the event." The list will include the Police
    Department, the Border Patrol, Fire Safety and Rescue Service, the
    State Security Department, certain departments of the Defence
    Department, including the very secretive Second Department of Special

    The Police Department announced that more than 2000 police officers
    would be working in Vilnius during the event. Eight hundred out of
    them will be brought in from other cities. They intend to guard all
    the bridges of the city. Police officers and National Guard troops
    will be stationed around the city.

    Officers strongly urged the capital's residents not to drive their
    cars to the city's centre and the old town. They also reminded that
    the traffic would be restricted not only around the areas where the
    forum's events will be held, but also around the streets leading to
    the airport, when delegations' convoys will be using those streets
    [passage omitted on more traffic restriction information].

    Officers' Slap in the Face

    A portion of police officers may create headaches for their colleagues
    who will be guarding the important guests during the Vilnius Forum.

    On May 4 they are planning to hold protest rallies in front of the
    parliament and the government office. The officers who will be off
    duty that day should be protesting against the government's
    unwillingness to compensate their salaries that have been reduced over
    a few years. Five hundred police officers are expected to participate
    in the rallies.

    However, the organizers of the rallies have not made final decision
    whether they will be holding the protests on the scheduled
    day. Moreover, the Vilnius City Municipality has not issued the
    permission to hold the protests on 4 May.

    Organizers of the Vilnius Conference say that even if the protests
    will be held, they will be held relatively far from the places where
    the international forum will be held; thus, major problems should not