RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin met last week with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus to discuss democratic reforms in Eastern Europe, Russian foreign policy, and the state of free media in the region.
Gedmin also took part in a panel discussion with Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vygaudas Ušackas, and Grigol Vashadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
The event, held at Vytautus Magnus University, centered around concern over developments in Russian foreign policy. Both the Lithuanian and Georgian foreign ministers argued that every nation should have the sovereign right to choose its own alliance with Mr. Ušackas expressing sympathy and support for Georgia's aspiration to join NATO and the European Union.
Gedmin reminded the Lithuanian audience that just a few years ago opponents of NATO enlargement had argued that the Baltic nations should be excluded, so as to avoid offending Russia. In fact, contended Gedmin, the so-called Baltic red line was an imaginary one. "The Baltic countries joined the EU and NATO, the sky did not fall," said Gedmin. "Europe actually became stronger and more secure as a result."