Minister of National Defence, José Azeredo Lopes, visited during Sunday and Monday the three National Forces deployed in Lithuania, which contribute to NATO's efforts promoting collective security.
During this visit the Minister of Defence was joined by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Admiral António Silva Ribeiro, by the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Manuel Rolo and by the Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral António Mendes Calado.
On Sunday, July 29, the Minister of Defence visited 140 Portuguese Marines deployed to Klaipedia in Lithuania in the framework of the NATO Reassurance Measures. This is the first autonomous mission of the company of Marines within the Organization.
"Portugal gives a very clear signal of its commitment to collective security and peace”. “The nature of this force allows it to quickly act on the ground with special forces, and allows it to interact with different units of this country, which is an advantage, knowing that it is installed in the only port of Lithuania", said the Minister of National Defence during his visit in Klaipedia.
The Minister of National Defence considered that this mission not only allows "a significant increase to the quality of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, which is already high", but also "provides the possibility of testing the ability to work together among members and Allies of the same organization". In addition, interoperability is equally important for the Marines themselves as they "progress, get even better by the fact that they interact with other forces in other countries, sometimes with cultures that are not entirely coincident, outside of their home country and in a context where there are many new ways to train and to further improve".
On Monday, July 30, the Minister of Defence traveled to Siauliai Air Base to visit the approximately 100 Air Force personnel stationed in Lithuania. The two groups of National Forces are in charge of separate but complementary operations: the Baltic Air Policing with four F-16 aircrafts and the NATO Assurance Measures with a P-3CUP +.
In this region, the Air Force has participated in the Baltic Air Policing with several F-16 deployments (2007, 2014, 2016 and 2018), the Navy with the Frigates "D. Francisco de Almeida" (2015 and 2017) and "Álvares Cabral" (2016), as well as with the "Tridente" Submarine (2016), and the Army with a Reconnaissance Company (2015) and an Artillery Battery of Campaign (2016).
During this visit, the Minister of National Defence also met with his Lithuanian counterpart, Raimundas Karoblis. The two leaders took stock of the bilateral relationship, exchanged views on the current geostrategic security and defence environment and reviewed the common agenda within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance, in particular Portugal's contributions to the Baltic region.