- March 21, 2013
Lithuanian responses to Radosław Sikorski’s policy statement
The policy statement by Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, delivered on 20th March in the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, in which, among other things, the question of Polish-Lithuanian relations had been raised, evoked dissatisfaction of Lithuanian politicians.
In his Sejm’s statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs presented information on the subject of the priorities of Polish policy in 2013. Sikorski talked, among other things, about relations with the nearest neighbours: Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Visegrád countries.
The head of Polish diplomacy stressed that he counts on cooperation with new Lithuanian Government concerning, among other things, the rights of Polish minority and the realization of bilateral undertakings including new road, railway and energy connections.
‘Solving the most urgent issues, including the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania, will contribute to easier realization of bilateral undertakings including new road, railway and energy connections’ – stated Radosław Sikorski. This fragment of Polish Minister’s speech caused dissatisfaction of the highest-ranking Lithuanian politicians. The authorities of Lithuania are against linking the issues related to the Polish minority with bilateral energy and transport projects led together with Poland.
The head of Lithuanian diplomacy, Linas Linkevičius, was the first to react to Sikorski’s policy statement.
‘We do not link these matters together, but we are solving the problems of national minorities’ – stated Minister Linkevičius. The Lithuanian Minister added that a special working group has finished work which proposes allowing the original spelling of names and surnames in Latin alphabet.
The reaction of the Prime Minister of Lithuanian Government, Algirdas Butkevičius, was more severe. The Prime Minister thinks that Radosław Sikorski’s statement has been undiplomatic due to the linking of the national minority’s problems in Lithuania with energy and transport projects led together with Poland.
‘I have not read this comment yet, but if such words were spoken for sure, then I think that they diverge from the language of diplomacy a little bit. Especially when taking into account that it is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I believe that during my meeting with the Polish Prime Minister we discussed all the issues and I hope that all of the agreements will be executed at the Prime Ministers’ level’ – declared Algirdas Butkevičius yesterday.
Also yesterday was the day when Juozas Bernatonis, the Minister of Justice, informed that the Government of the Republic of Lithuania appointed a working group whose task is to prepare a bill on the spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in Lithuanian passports.
Tłumaczenie Barbara Rożek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Barbara Rożek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.