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Tuesday, 5 September 2006

Visit of the President of the Republic of Poland in Lithuania

Yesterday in the evening the President of the Republic of Poland and Ms Kaczyńska arrived with an official visit in Vilnius.

The President is accompanied i.a. by: Secretary of State Mr Robert Draba, Secretary of State Mr Maciej Łopiński, Undersecretary of State Mr Andrzej Krawczyk and Undersecretary of State Ms Lena Dąbkowska-Cichocka.

Today the President of the Republic of Poland took part in a Special Session in the White Hall of the Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania, commemorating the 15th anniversary of renewal of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Poland. The ceremony was preceded by a Holy Mass in the Vilnius Cathedral.

Below is the text of the speech delivered by President Kaczyński at the Special Session:

”Distinguished Mr President, Marshals of the Sejms of both nations, Ministers, Excellencies, Bishop, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!

The very size of today’s conference, the persons attending it, indicate that the 15th anniversary of restoration of diplomatic relations between two independent states – Poland and the Republic of Lithuania – is not a usual ceremony. It is not the ceremony, which may occur many a time between two countries celebrating some anniversary. In this case it is the matter of relations, which in every respect are special: special both in historical terms (President Adamkus spoke about this) as well as especially due to our present.

Part of history is the union, which in various forms lasted 400 years. Part of history is also unfortunately when together we lost our independence in the late 18th century. Our history also includes the difficult relations of the period between the two world wars, following regained independence – this time separately by Lithuania and Poland; it includes the tragic years of World War II and then of communist enslavement – but this is the past now for our nations. Today they have and will have in the future an unparalleled opportunity. The opportunity of a real partnership with extremely firm strategic roots. A partnership connected with the fact that both Lithuania and Poland have attained their goals regarding membership in NATO and the European Union. Thus our bilateral relations do take into account this common membership. This is not to say that they can only and exclusively be connected with the membership in these organisations. They must have something, which I would call value added, a special value due to the fact that we are neighbouring countries and have such powerful historical ties between us.

I think that the last 15 years have shown that such a policy can be pursued with success. During these 15 years there were periods better and worse however especially now must we demonstrate that we are capable of strategic partnership, that together we can attain goals within the European Union and NATO, which are our own goals, characteristic of our geographic location, connected with our history, experience and sometimes even concerns – which do form part of our reality. We can do it especially in the European Union. I am convinced that in fact we must do it.

One of the fundamental matters in the world of today, for all countries – thus naturally also for Poland and Lithuania – is the matter of energy security. We have recently made major progress in this respect. A huge Polish state-owned company bought shares in a huge Lithuanian refinery in Mazeikiai. President Adamkus spoke about the need to improve the related infrastructure. An oil pipeline is required as well as a gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania. Poland wants a LNG terminal and will build one. Even if the terminal is not necessary immediately, even if we treat it as a strategic project – there is no reason for the republic of Lithuania not to be able to use it. The same goes for the connection between our existing oil terminal with Mazeikiai or other locations in Lithuania. I think all of this should be completed within the next five ort six years. There are other issues, which we raised several times. Issues connected with electricity, railway and road connections. In this respect the membership of both our countries in the European Union creates a great opportunity. I am profoundly convinced that this membership will allow us to undertake joint projects, in a significant part at least funded by the Union. This is an issue of major significance – for indeed Vilnius and Warsaw, though geographically not very far apart, in reality have a greater distance between them due to the fact that the railway lines and roads between them fail to meet the requirements of the 21st century. We will change it. I can say here, not only as President of the Republic of Poland but also on behalf of the Polish Government, that we have the will to do it and we shall act accordingly.

Poland and Lithuania have also other common interest regarding the energy sector. Let us hope that the way the situation develops in the Ukraine – a country with numerous connections to Poland and Lithuania, where Poland and Lithuania played a significant role (I speak of the participation of President Adamkus and the then President of Poland Mr Aleksander Kwaśniewski in solving problems connected with the orange revolution) – that the situation in this country develops in a way permitting great intentions to be turned into reality, where not only Poland and Lithuania but in fact all Europe will be able to use oil and gas coming from Asia: from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, perhaps even from more distant countries. We spoke about it. Today it is difficult to say that something has been resolved, however the opportunity is there and I think we should take it up together.

There are many common areas connected with key issues not only for Lithuania and Poland but also for the contemporary world. There are also our own issues: cultural cooperation and – as President Adamkus rightly said – the very important matter of national minorities. President Adamkus, Ladies and Gentlemen! The fact the Poles live in Lithuania and Lithuanians live in Poland is only natural. With such interlaced history indeed it could not have been otherwise. What is happening is quite natural and this is how this reality should be perceived. We haven’t the slightest problem with supporting Lithuanian education and Polish Lithuanians. Also we have no doubt as to their loyalty to the Republic of Poland. Representatives of the Polish minority in Lithuania assured twice at least of their full loyalty for the Lithuanian state. I think therefore that if any issues are there then they can be resolved without the slightest loss for either of our countries. I hope to have the opportunity of talking about this with President Adamkus, e.g. on the occasion of your visit President Adamkus in Warsaw on September the 29th. We are looking forward very much to it. I also think that what is still outstanding will be very quickly settled for the mutual benefit of Poland and Lithuania.

President Adamkus, Marshals, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Out there is what I consider to be a great opportunity for us – because in the world around us, especially in the world of the European Union to be a couple, a couple of states is quite something else than acting single-handed.
Thank you very much and thank you for the magnificent reception here in Vilnius.”


To see more pictures visit our Gallery:

President Kaczyński in Vilnius

Meeting at the Vilnius University

Celebraiting together

Concert at the Vilnius Congress Concert Hall

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