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Baltic, Balkan Leaders Meet in Lithuanian Capital

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, for a meeting with the leaders of nine former communist countries on the future of the Baltic and Black Sea regions.

As he met Wednesday with the conference host, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Mr. Cheney praised the Baltic country for its achievements over the past 15 years and thanked it for military participation in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also said many countries around the globe could benefit from democratic values.

The meetings Thursday will focus on developments following European Union and NATO expansion, the promotion of democracy and on dealing with ethnic conflicts facing many of the participating countries.

The conference will bring together representatives of more than 20 nations, including several from western Europe, as well as the presidents of Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP..