Remarks With Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius After their Meeting
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and let me once again welcome our distinguished visitor and his delegation here to the State Department. Lithuania is a valued ally and a trusted friend. My meeting today with the prime minister was an opportunity to reaffirm the bonds between our nations and to discuss how we’re going to continue working together even more deeply in the years ahead.
This is a historic year for Lithuania. It’s the 20th anniversary of the restoration of its independence. Lithuania was the first of the former Soviet republics to claim its freedom in 1990. Since then, Lithuania has developed into a strong democracy with a dynamic, open economy. It has joined the European Union and NATO. It has worked to reset its relations with Russia. It’s made great progress on women’s rights, to the extent that the prime minister told me with great pride about not only having a woman president, as we all know, but a woman minister of defense and --
PRIME MINISTER KUBILIUS: And a minister of finance and speaker of the parliament.
SECRETARY CLINTON: My kind of place. (Laughter.) And Lithuania has also been a real model during this difficult global recession. The prime minister and his government have made the hard but necessary decisions needed to revive the economy.
And we also applaud Lithuania’s leadership in international organizations like the Community of Democracies, the OSCE – which it will chair in the next year – its support for disaster relief in Haiti, and its very vigorous diplomacy far beyond its own borders.
Lithuania’s increased contributions in Afghanistan, despite the difficult economic times, speaks to the strength of our partnership, its dedication as an ally, and the importance of our mission. We honor the service and the sacrifice of the Lithuanian defense forces in support of the Afghan people’s efforts to bring peace and stability to their own country. This is part of our very robust cooperation inside NATO. And as I told the prime minister, the United States is dedicated to NATO’s bedrock principle of collective security. Our commitment to Lithuania’s security is ironclad and unwavering.
We also recognize that energy security is a pressing concern in the region, and I was pleased to hear some of the ideas that the prime minister told me Lithuania is pursuing. We look forward to increased cooperation between the Baltic states, between Lithuania and potential opportunities for U.S. companies to help develop solutions for reliable, sustainable energy.
So Mr. Prime Minister, there are so many areas that we are working on together and it is a great personal pleasure for me to have that opportunity to thank you.
PRIME MINISTER KUBILIUS: Well, Madam Secretary, dear colleagues, well, it’s a great opportunity and great privilege for us to have such a meeting. The U.S.-Lithuanian partnership is a strategic one in reality, and 20 years of our independence really is a big success in which the U.S. took a leading role. So thanks again. Thanks a lot for what you did for our countries, not only during the last 20 years but during the whole – quite a difficult period before that.
Here, we talked really very important issues. And I had the privilege to praise the personal leadership of Madam Secretary in really what are difficult and challenging tasks globally. Lithuania is doing what we can do, what we need to do to be partners in those initiatives where U.S. Administration is doing a great job. We were, we are, and we shall be part of your efforts to bring peace and stability into Afghanistan. And we are very grateful for those decisions which all of us were making in developing also NATO security initiatives.
I had the privilege to participate in a quite recent dinner in Prague, which was organized by President Obama, and again I can say the same what I said during that evening – that we are very optimistic, looking to what reset policy towards Russia is bringing into our region. I had quite recently a very important meeting with Prime Minister Putin. It was months ago, and I saw in evidence what results this reset policy is bringing, bringing not only to what’s – changes of Russian attitude to Europe, to neighboring countries, but I think that it brings also quite an – interesting and challenging developments even in our neighboring Belarus.
So I’m always repeating that those results convincing us that we need to be optimistic about those developments, but also we need to keep being realistic. And here is very important issues which we discussed also. And for us, very important is partnership with U.S., with U.S. Administration in bringing energy security into reality, where our cooperation, our partnership can bring really very big and important developments in our region.
So again, thanks a lot, and I appreciate very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.
PRIME MINISTER KUBILIUS: Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.
MR. CROWLEY: We have time for two questions. On the U.S. side, Jill Dougherty from CNN.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, thank you. On this Times Square attempted bombing, could you tell us, at this point, based on what the United States knows so far, did the suspect receive any help or training in Pakistan from any type of group?
And also, just one other question: This proposal today, in fact, by Senator Lieberman and others on rescinding the citizenship, do you have an opinion on that? Do you believe that it’s – constitutionally would pass muster? And is the State Department equipped to make a determination whether to rescind someone’s citizenship? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thanks, Jill. On your first question, I am going to leave it to the appropriate law enforcement leadership to comment on the developments in this case. As you know, it is moving very quickly. I’ve been briefed numerous times since the incident occurred, and I think it’s probably not a good idea for there to be numerous voices talking about what we know and what the implications of that are. So I think I’ll leave it at that.
But with respect to your second question, we already have authority within the law that permits the State Department to do what is called expatriation.
Do you want some water? Do you want some water? Are you sure? Here, P.J.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: You’re welcome. It’s the season for that. I’ve had that happen numerous times.
So let me just go back for you. With respect to your question about whether or not the citizenship of someone who is involved in terrorism should be revoked, the Department has what’s called expatriation authority under statute. It is related primarily to some kind of allegiance being declared to a foreign state. I think that since we already have this authority; it has been exercised in the past. We will certainly take a hard look at it.
I understand the desire behind the recommendation from some members of Congress. Clearly, United States citizenship is a privilege. It is not a right. People who enter into such citizenship through naturalization swear to uphold their duties to our Constitution. And people who are serving foreign powers – or in this case, foreign terrorists – are clearly in violation, in my personal opinion, of that oath which they swore when they became citizens. So we’re going to take a hard look at this.
MR. CROWLEY: I think, on the Lithuanian side, with Rita.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi.
QUESTION: Hi. Lithuania still has not solved the secret CIA prison question. How is the American Government going to cooperate in resolving this problem?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’ll let the prime minister respond, since I know that’s a matter of great interest.
PRIME MINISTER KUBILIUS: Well, I think that all the investigations which we were able to do were done in Lithuania by Lithuanian Parliament, and we have nothing to add. And if some additional information will come, we shall come back to conclusions which were made earlier. So that’s an issue which is closed in Lithuania and there is nothing to add.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.