See also: President starts visit to Lithuania President Duda started a three-day visit to Lithuania on Thursday afternoon to take part in ceremonies marking Lithuania's 100th independence anniversary.
The Polish head of state made the statement during a meeting with representatives of the local Polish community in Vilnius. Poland's First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda also took part in the meeting.
"On behalf of the president of the Republic of Poland, let me express my gratitude to you for being good and loyal citizens of the Lithuanian state even though you are of Polish descent, as in this way you show that Poles are hard-working and honest people who respect others and the country they live in," President Duda said.
He explained that he had come to Lithuania to celebrate together with Poles living here as well as Lithuanians and the Lithuanian authorities the 100th independence anniversary of their state.
"But I have also come here to be with you and thank you. Thank you for your Polish spirit; for being together and meeting at this place, which the Polish state has financed on your initiative," the president went on to say.
The president said he knew the problems of Poles living in Lithuania, concerning, among other things, Polish language teaching and secondary school graduation exams in Polish.
"There are problems; and I will speak about these problems with President Dalia Grybauskaite; we will be trying, I hope, to overcome these problems by jointly agreeing upon how to solve them," he added.
"Let me ask you to keep calm and do this by means of good dialogue. It seems to me that Polish-Lithuanian political relations are now going in a good direction, and I hope that these good relations will a have good influence on the improving situation of Poles living in Lithuania," the president said.
On Friday morning, the president will meet with representatives of Polish business in Lithuania.
Later in the day, the presidential couple will take part in ceremonies marking Lithuania's 100th anniversary of independence.
On Friday afternoon, President Duda will meet with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
A working state visit of the Polish president to Lithuania will be held on Saturday. President Duda will be officially welcomed by the Lithuanian head of state. A face-to-face meeting of the two presidents will be followed by plenary talks between the two delegations.
The meeting of the two presidents will focus on the rights of Poles living in Lithuania and co-operation in the EU and NATO.
An agreement concerning the recognition of a common border will be signed in the presence of the two presidents, who will later hold a press conference. (PAP)