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Friday, 29 September 2006

Polish – Lithuanian relations are excellent

On 29 September 2006 the President of the Republic of Poland Mr Lech Kaczyński and the President of the Republic of Lithuania Mr Valdas Adamkus on an official visit in Poland took part in the inauguration ceremony of the academic year in the Warsaw University.

Taking the floor President Kaczyński said:

”Distinguished Madam Rector, President Adamkus!

I wish to welcome you once again very cordially in Poland in this place of such importance for our country. This is – or at least was until recently – the biggest lecture room of the Warsaw University. Together we have the opportunity to take part in a ceremony, which – considering the list of guests read out by Madam Rector – is indeed the central inauguration ceremony starting the 2006/2007 academic year.

Naturally today I would be happy to speak about matters raised here, because it is not the first time that I am a guest at this ceremony. However earlier I came here as President of the Capital City of Warsaw. I do know that it is a tradition for Rectors to speak about the most fundamental of matters. At this time I can but say only this: I wish you – first year students as well as those more senior – that the education you get in this University gives you the skill of understanding the reality as it stands and not the one you read on the front pages of a newspaper considered to be fashionable. This is my warmest wish to you.

But I am meeting here with you today due to our highly distinguished guest President Adamkus. I can say one thing: in these respectable walls we welcome a person who stands as the Head of a State connected far stronger then others with our country. This is not only about historical ties, which we all know, about the centuries old union between our countries. This is about our contemporary relations between two states, the leaders of which are meeting for the fifth or sixth time in the last nine months; about relations between countries, which strive to resolve existing problems in the course of talks and compromise, none assuming that one is right and the other one is completely wrong. Finally I think this is an example of relations between states, which do differ in size – indeed quite significantly – but do not take this into account in their mutual relations. I said to the President: there are 42 million of us Lithuanians and Poles together. Let us assume in our talks that there are 21 million living in each country and this will be the best way to keep our relations the way they should be within the European Union. In this respect I think these relations are a model for others and benefit both Poland as well as the Republic of Lithuania. I attended the inauguration of the academic year in this university many times before; the first time being 40 years ago and the last time in last year, however I do not recall the President of a brotherly nation being present. And thus I think that this inauguration is truly special in nature.

From this place I once again wish to convey expressions of my most profound respect for you President; to express the conviction that relations between our countries will increasingly enhance relations between our nations. These are strong but should become stronger every year. That cultural cooperation will be closer, that more of our students will attend the equally historic Vilnius University and that students from Lithuania will be in the University of Warsaw – as well as other Polish universities. That to an increasing extent we will be studying our mutual history. This is necessary if cooperation within the European Union is to be truly genuine. I think that Poland and Lithuania can be a role model in this respect, not only owing to the successful several centuries of history but also due to the present day. This is something I would very much like to wish to both our nations, to you Mr President, to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and also to our people and our authorities, thanking once again for being invited to today’s ceremony. Mind you – this invitation – at least to my mind – was quite unprecedented in our history. Thank you very much.”

Next a press conference of the Presidents was held where President Kaczyński said:

”We have had talks, first within a narrow group, then with a broader audience. With President Valdas Adamkus we discussed matters, which interest us as two very close neighbours, as well as those, which are of interest to us as Member States of the European Union, indeed even as member States of the United Nations. I wish to express great joy at our joint declaration and equal joy at the letter of intent, which will soon be more concrete and which concerns energy cooperation, in particular the energy bridge between Poland and Lithuania.

I also want to say that the visit continues. We shall be seeing each other in the Embassy, at dinner and tomorrow on our way to Lvov. Also in Lvov itself – however there we will have another partner – President Yushchenko. This shows how intensive our relations are. I think it is the will of both our countries, as the President will say in a while. For sure on the part of our country this will is very strong, we have various joint plans. Naturally we spoke about the situation in Mazeikiai, we spoke about the situation connected with certain plans concerning the energy sector, which are being pursued by Lithuania with her Baltic partners, which Poland can join. These were actually matters where only opportunities arise.

We also exchanged a few words about the situation of the national minority in Lithuania. There still are some problems here. I am convinced that Mr President is supportive of their resolution. I think that as regards the “lands” issue very significant progress will be attained. We shall also focus on educational matters and the issue of spelling of names – an issue of symbolic nature – will I think be discussed further. In fact according to some opinions it also requires some moves regarding the Lithuanian Constitution. This issue we also discussed. I think we will be revisiting it, however in friendly and calm talks. Apart from tomorrow’s meeting with President Adamkus (naturally today’s meeting too) we shall certainly be seeing each other – I understand – in Budapest and then in Riga. I think there will be at least ten meetings in the course of this year. I am emphasising this to show how intensive are the relations between our countries. Thank you very much.”


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