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Monday, 12 February 2018

Presidential official: Lithuania must respect rights of minorities

Krzysztof Lapinski, spokesman for Polish President Andrzej Duda, said on Monday that Poland expects Lithuania to respect the rights of national minorities, and hopes to tighten bilateral relations. President Duda is set to arrive in Vilnius on Thursday.


The Polish head of state will be accompanied by First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda and they will attend ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the State of Lithuania.


Asked about the upcoming visit in a TV interview, the presidential spokesman said it would offer a chance to improve Polish-Lithuanian relations.


"If the President responds to the invitation of the Lithuanian head of state and travels to attend these ceremonies which are important and symbolic for the Lithuanians," Lapinski said, "then it is also symbolic in that it shows we want to tighten or nurture relations with our neighbour."


"At the same time," he added, "the will of both sides is required."


As the spokesman said, there exists a Lithuanian diaspora in Poland, whom the host country is treating very well in every respect.

"We are also expecting certain reciprocity," he noted, "so that Poles in Lithuania are treated as fully-entitled citizens, in line with all the standards for the rights of national minorities, developed over the past decades by the European Union and other international institutions."


Krzysztof Lapinski specified that this applies to how Polish names are spelt in Lithuania, among other issues, but noted that "we are not demanding extra privileges for Poles." (PAP)

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