Lithuania's president-elect asks NATO to strengthen air defense in Lithuania

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-15 03:59:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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VILNIUS, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Lithuania's President-elect Gitanas Nauseda has asked NATO to strengthen air defense capabilities in Lithuania during a phone call with NATO head Jens Stoltenberg on Friday.

Nauseda, who is to take the President's Office next month, and Stoltenberg discussed security issues, defense spending, NATO strengthening in a phone call, the president-elect's spokesperson told local media.

Nauseda has told Stoltenberg Lithuania needs more air defense capabilities.

"We said that air defense is important, and we would want more air defense," Aistis Zabarauskas, Nauseda's spokesman, told local news agency BNS.

The conversation was initiated by Stoltenberg, Zabarauskas told national broadcaster LRT.

Air defense is the weakest link in Lithuania's defense, according to local media.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, NATO's Eastern-flank member countries by the Baltic Sea, do not have their own fighter jets and rely on rotating NATO air-policing missions conducted by the allied countries since 2004 when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined NATO.

In recent years, Lithuania, a small Baltic State with a population of less than 3 million, has been stepping up its defense capabilities amid security tensions in the region.

The President-elect Nauseda, 55, formerly an economist at one of the country's largest banks, will take the President's Office on July 12, replacing the incumbent President Dalia Grybauskaite, who is completing her second term.