Today the 20th Anniversary of the Re-establishment of the Republic of Lithuania celebrated in Vilnius.
Lech Kaczyński delivered a speech during a ceremonial session of the Lithuanian Seimas.
“20 years ago, an event took place which surprised even us, Poles, in spite of the fact that we had already had a non-communist government for six months by then (...). We knew that the people of Lithuania were organising themselves the same way as we had earlier, in 1980 and 1981, but we were also aware that your situation was more difficult than ours – your country was incorporated into the Soviet Union while we had managed to avoid this, at least formally,” said the Polish President.
He went on to explain that the Act of 11th March 1990 was considered in Poland to be a token of extraordinary courage. “I would like to congratulate you on this, for this was not merely an act of courage – it was also a success.”
The President said that, due to this activity, Lithuania, as well as Latvia and Estonia, broke free from the Soviet influence. He emphasized that these states very soon became a part of the Western world, taking their rightful place. “This was indeed a great success for you,” he added.
Lech Kaczyński said that Poland and Lithuania are members of two great organisations, the EU and NATO, where, he said, their opinions need to be taken into account. He believes that in the European Union the joint opinion of the small states must also be of importance. He added that Poland, in spite of having 38 million citizens, “is not Germany, France or the United Kingdom. We have to cooperate, but not to "defeat" anybody – our cooperation has to bolster democracy in the EU," he appealed.
The President, while discussing the issue of cooperation within NATO, emphasized that Poland would like the entire region to be appreciated by the greatest of our strategic partners – the United States of America. He believes that retaining the current role of NATO – an organisation aimed at ensuring safety – is in the interest of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and all the other countries of the region.
He also said that we should remember the good moments in our long history and the fact that, at one point, Poland and Lithuania became one country. “We need to remember all this, especially the connections between our countries which led to our position in Europe being as it is, as these connections influenced the shape of Europe today and the EU.” He congratulated the authorities and people of Lithuania on their victory and courage 20 years ago and wished them all the best in the future.
(PAP/ own information)