The meeting in Lublin took place during a two-day state visit by the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Poland.Her visit comes at a historically significant moment as this year marks the 550th anniversary of the Union of Lublin which established the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Commonwealth lasted until the Third Partition of Poland in 1795, with Poland and Lithuania not becoming independent states again until 1918.
As Dalia Grybauskaite ends her second presidential term, the visit to Warsaw can be treated as a farewell to her role as head of state of Lithuania. The presidential election in Lithuania will take place on May 12th and Grybauskaite will not be able to run after having served two terms in office.
Before travelling to meet with the soldiers in Lublin, Grybauskite spoke about the country's relations with Poland during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. She told the press that she is very pleased by the tightening cooperation with Poland and that good Lithuanian-Polish relations are crucial for strengthening regional security.
Apart from military cooperation, she also praised the implementation of joint economic projects and economic cooperation, including a number of important bilateral and European infrastructure projects regarding highways, railway, gas pipelines and power grid.
The Polish President concurred that Polish-Lithuanian cooperation in the recent years has been great.He also stressed that Polish figher pilots are now guarding Lithuanian skies under the Baltic air policing framework and that the framework if proof of the common allied security guarantees between the two countries facilitated by NATO. He did however also bring up an issue that has been a bone of contention in Polish-Lithuanian relations in recent years. President Duda stressed that he hopes that Lithuania will adopt the necessary legislation to make it possible for the Polish minority living in Lithuania (making up around 6% of the country's total population) to use the original, Polish, version of spelling of their own names for as certain street names in areas with a large Polish population.
The issue, together with dispute over the use of Polish language in some schools, has had a negative impact on the relations between the two countries in the decades following the fall of the Soviet Union.
Author: Adam Starzynski
Source: Poland Daily