- February 27, 2014
Kwaśniewski: Treaties, which we signed, are still in force
Previous president of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, came to Vilnius yesterday. He wanted to participate in a round-table meeting prepared by Gediminas Kirkilas, vice chairman of Sejm. Its main subject was to set Polish-Lithuanian intercourse beside international.
President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, also had to take part in the meeting. Unfortunately, he couldn’t come because of his illness. “We evaluated that during the last 20 years we have made a historical progress – our both countries are cooperatively in EU and NATO. During 10 years of mine presidency I have been actively supporting Lithuanian plans, ambitions and we were correctly saying about strategic Polish-Lithuanian partnership. We have also stated, that we have problems which have been unsettled for years. They are not essential. We usually called them minor problems, but there are such issues, which are usually derailing the atmosphere of Polish-Lithuanian relations” – said Kwaśniewski to the reporters after meeting.
Previous president of Poland was also happy because of Polish minority participation in co-governing of country. “We have also discovered a fact, which is historical, because it did not happened before and it does not happen in the world at all. Representation of Polish minority is a participant of governmental coalition in Lithuania. Only once we had a situation where Polish citizen was the head of state, and that was, as you know, in Vatican City” – joked A. Kwaśniewski.
In his speech, Polish politician referred also to the situation in Ukraine. “We live in very dangerous moment. During last few years we were convinced, that our region is safe and stable, and nothing bad can hit us. Since couple months we have followed affairs in Ukraine. Today, since very morning, we are being engulfed with information from the Crimea. All of this have to ruin our peace. Situation is difficult, dangerous. It is not easy to envisage further course of events. That is why cooperation between countries from our region, including Polish-Lithuanian cooperation, is more significant than two, three years ago. We need a dialogue between our countries. I believe, that Polish-Lithuanian parliamentary concourse will take place soon. Those forums are especially necessary then, when times are tough. They are not as significant, when everything is right and beautiful. We have to very consequently approach to eliminate those obstacles, or those stones on the road, which are in Polish-Lithuanian relations.” – pointed out Kwaśniewski.
Minority problems are very sensitive
Previous president pointed out, that he is waiting for latter-day decision of Constitutional Court about surnames, just like majority of participants of this dialogue. Kwaśniewski said, that it was easier for him than for active politicians, who had to make the decisions. “We made a deal with vice chairman, that I am responsible for words, and he is responsible for actions.” –Polish politician was ironic.
Kwaśniewski alerted also Lithuanian friends to undue political issues relevant to minorities. “I alert to include minorities’ issues to such hardened domestic politic and to interparty contention. It is not relevant only to Lithuania, it is relevant to everyone. Problems of ethnic minorities are very sensitive, but can be also very dangerous. They are similar to jinn – when he is released from the bottle, it is hard to catch him back. Leaders of all political groupings should prove proper sensibility in those cases, and treaties we signed are still in force. They have to be realised, especially in a context of a new international situation in region, which we have. Let’s bring back, that Ukraine is such a roll of ethnic problems. We as a country in EU, can’t lead by bad example.” – appealed A. Kwaśniewski.
Gediminas Kirkilas added, that both sides would inventory the treaty. He also proposed to reschedule final solution of Polish postulates after elections. “Because during elections, politicians not always keep both feet on the ground.” – said vice chairman of Lithuanian Sejm.
Kwiatkowski: The issues of further existence
After a short press conference with Kwaśniewski, Józef Kwiatkowski (deputy of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania), who participated in the meeting together with Polish deputies, gave an interview. “There is always a time to sort out the problems. And it is always the right time. Those so called minor problems, not a strategic one, we have been solving for 20 years and we didn’t manage to do it. Literally, we have been in the same place. I suppose, it is impossible to be achieved. This is what we were talking about”- declared politician.
Kwiatkowski added, that the plan of issues concerning Polish ethnic minority in Lithuania, was not worth being pushed aside. “There are strategic problems. In strategic points things are going great. However, speaking of those “minor problems” it is worth asking for whom they are minor? I suppose they might be for a one country or another. But for a human being, for Polish ethnic minority, those are fundamental issues. Those are the issues of further existence” – Kwaśniewski explained to the journalists.
According to a deputy, it is not worth waiting till the elections to solve those problems, as it was proposed by Kirkilas. “After the campaign to the European Parliament and the presidential election campaign, the municipal election will start. And it will keep going like a vicious circle. I suppose that it is not worth to combine those two things. We have to move forward and search for compromise. And a compromise can be found” – emphasised politician.
Garšva: Too many Latin letters
Earlier, during the meeting of Kwaśniewski with Lithuanian politicians, Kazimieras Garšva, chairman of „Vilniji”, gave an interview. He proved that it is impossible to write a surname using Latin letters, which do not exist in Lithuanian alphabet. “There is too many of such letters and none will understand. Such thing does not exist in any country, even in Poland. So, a Latvian variant is a good solution, where an original notation is not at the main page. Nevertheless, Sejm has already approved the project” – K. Garšva said to assembled people.
Garšva, asked why this matter engages only Polish politicians, answer: “Because they want to be elected. The want to get an emolument. But in some point, one will have to take care of economy and other important issues different than the language.”
This year, it has been 20 years since the treaty between Polish and Lithuania was signed. It projected binomial nomenclature or the original spelling of surnames in the official documents. Polish side introduced appropriate changes in the national law. However, Lithuanian side did not redeemed from their liability contained in the treaty. This failure to fulfil their promises is one of the reason why the relations between Vilnius and Warsaw got worst.
Tłumaczenie by Beata Kanadys w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Beata Kanadys within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.