The United States and Lithuania have agreed to sign a new agreement on defence cooperation as early as this year, Lithuania's Ministry of National Defence said on Thursday.
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"The news allows to believe that the US is ready to make long-term commitments for ensuring security in Lithuania," says the ministry's Defence Policy Director Vaidotas Urbelis, currently on a visit to the United States.

The ministry said in the statement that the new agreement would define the status of deployed US forces and weaponry, the legal basis of investments into infrastructure, as well as joint projects for developing Lithuania's key defence capabilities.

According to Urbelis, the signing of the new agreement will be important for both sides not only for effective implementation of the initiative to ensure European security, but will also define the United States' strong and long-term commitments to Lithuania's security.

During his visit, Urbelis met with Elissa Slotkin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. It was agreed that NATO must strengthen its capabilities on its eastern border in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine. Urbelis said Lithuania was ready to provide the whole necessary accommodation and training infrastructure for the deployment of allied forces in Lithuania.

Representatives of the US Department of Defense said they expected all allies' supports in fighting the terrorist jihadist organization in Iraq. The solidarity of the Alliance and its members in this fight is very important for the US, Slotkin said.

It was also agreed during the meeting to join efforts on practical support projects for Ukraine. "Lithuania is now NATO's contact-point embassy in Kiev and we are actively working not only in bilateral but also multilaterals formats. We must join our efforts in strengthening Ukraine's army," Urbelis underlined.

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