Bush sees progress on visa-free travel for Lithuanians
US President George W Bush said Monday he was
hopeful that Lithuanians will be able to travel to the United States as early
as next month without getting a visa, dpa
"You can take back to your people a very positive report about this very important initiative," Bush said during a meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus. "And you and your government deserve a lot of credit for it."
The Bush administration has been under pressure from Baltic and Eastern European countries to allow their citizens to come to the US without visas, much like their counterparts in Western Europe.
The issue has added tension to otherwise friendly relations between the US and NATO's newest members. The Bush administration has tried to adjust the rules for Lithuania and other countries such as Poland and Hungary.
Bush said a new policy for Lithuania should be in place by "mid- October."
Adamkus praised Bush for supporting the democratic development of countries formerly under the sphere of the Soviet Union. The two leaders also discussed energy and the conflict in Georgia.