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Jan 21, 2010 | 16:37 GMT

2 mins read

Lithuania: The Foreign Minister Resigns

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas announced his resignation Jan. 21 following public remarks from Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite that she had lost confidence in him. Usackas has served in Grybauskaite's Cabinet since December 2008, and in recent months the two have been engaged in a series of public disagreements, primarily over the nature and status of alleged CIA "secret prisons" located within the Baltic country. A parliamentary probe recently asserted that Lithuania did house CIA detention facilities from 2002 to 2004. Grybauskaite said they were used to interrogate individuals suspected of terrorism, while Usackas refuted such claims. The CIA prisons were also a point of contention between the Lithuanian president and the country's former ambassador to Georgia, Mecys Laurinkus, who was recalled by Grybauskaite due to his involvement in the CIA prisons as former head of the country's intelligence service, the State Security Department. Usackas accused the Lithuanian president of politicizing the ambassador's dismissal. The foreign minister also had been critical of the country's soft stance toward Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and held a generally hard-line view of Russia, while Grybauskaite holds a more pragmatic position toward their eastern neighbors. Usackas brief tenure ends during a time of Russian resurgence, and his departure could serve as an opportunity for Moscow to increase its influence in the traditionally pro-Western Baltic country.

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