Archive for June 2, 2009
Poland hadn’t occupied Vilnius in the interwar period, said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski speaking live on Poland’s TVN 24 a few days back.
Sikorski’s statement came amid an interview, which focused mainly on recent statements of certain German parties running for European Parliament (EP). Europe’s subdivision following WWII led to illegitimate eviction of German citizens from some of Poland’s territory as it is today, Vilnius Diena daily cites Germans as proposing.
Speaking on Germans, the Polish minister went on to mention Lithuanians as well.
“Lithuania believes that we occupied Vilnius in the interwar period, but we have a different take on this,” Sikorski said.
The minister during his airtime slammed Lithuanian authorities and Polish President Lech Kaczynski for failing to arrive to a single essential agreement during the latter’s 13 visits to the neighboring Baltic state.
“It’s just the way it goes, not all countries want to do that, which we expect from them,” Sikorski said.
Liberal Movement MP and member of the Seimas Foreign Affairs Committee Petras Austrevicius was astonished with the aforementioned statements, especially after 15 years since the signing of a cooperation treaty with Poland.
“Strange. Such statements go beyond strange. They are neither necessary nor grounded. (…) We left history for historians to unveil. We are certain of the annexation. The lack of bipartite relations for almost two decades proves this point. But why revisit the fact now, 15 years after we signed a cooperation agreement?” Austrevicius spoke.
The BNS reminds that Vilnius region, Lithuania’s eastern and south-eastern stretch including the city of Vilnius itself, was part of Poland from April of 1919 to September of 1939 (except July-Dec of 1920).
Lithuania might cut its state budget further, and Grybauskaite is already giving orders to Lithuanian authorities
On June 2 the Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said that the government might have to take further steps in order to reduce the state budget deficit amid the country’s worsening economic forecasts.
“We cannot say that the economic decline has stopped already. The Bank of Lithuania’s forecasts show that the economy may contract by up to 15%, which means that revenues will decline more than we projected and that the deficit can be higher than 5% — it can reach nearly 7%,” Kubilius told the Public Radio.
He said the government could have to take additional measures to keep the deficit within its 5% target.
The BNS written that in its latest forecasts published in May, the central Bank of Lithuania predicted that the economy would slump by 15.6% this year. The Finance Ministry forecast in late March a 10.5% GDP contraction for this year.
Lithuania’s president-elect Dalia Grybauskaite has said recently that budget spending should not be cut if the deficit is kept within 5%.
Grybauskaite, who arrived to Lithuania from Brussels via Riga as an economy-class passenger and pledged to fly economy class at least in Europe even after the inauguration, gave some tasks to the Lithuanian Parliament and the Lithuanian Government until the Spring session will end on 30 June.
“I hope that the government comes up with a package of tax amendments, that is those amendments, which have not been fully tackled since December – in the areas of small, mid-scale business, in particular SoDra [social insurance fund], health insurance other taxes, as early as in June. I really want to believe that this will be done,” Grybauskaite told reporters after the meeting with Prime Minister Kubilius.
“The European Commission shall be notified by July who specifically will implement the Swedlink project,” president-elect said.
Speaking about potential nationalization of the national energy company Leo LT she reiterated that the company should be broken up. “I support as quick break-up of this combination as possible and implementation of all strategic projects by a public company. This is my position in principle and, as I understand, the government agrees so far. What still remains is just the options and ways how this should be done,” Grybauskaite said to the BNS.
As the Lithuanian Defence Ministry reported a hand-made explosive detonated in front of a vehicle of Lithuanian troops during their regular patrol route in Afghanistan’s Ghor province on Tuesday morning.
No injuries or damage to vehicles were reported during the incident writes the BNS.
The explosive set off over 100 meters in front of the first vehicle in the column. Lithuanian troops are still working to determine the type of the explosive device.
The incident occurred about 130 kilometres southeast of Chagcharan, the capital of the Ghor province and the site of the camp of the Lithuanian-manned Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT). Troops continue their tasks in the region.
The BNS reported that the Defence Ministry said that increased guerrilla activity had been observed in the relatively calm province of Ghor this year, with forecast for further increase in the future amid the upcoming Afghan presidential elections and elections to Ghor’s local administration.
“Groups discontent with the performance of international forces in Afghanistan are taking advantage of the transition period to boos their influence in the country. In the Ghor province, we aim to ensure maximum security and constantly assess the situation, and we will draw certain conclusions from today’s incident whether any additional measures are possible to guarantee security of troops during their missions,” PRT-9 Colonel Alvydas Siuparis said in the press release.
The BNS reminded that the ninth shift of PRT is currently serving in Afghanistan. It consists of mainly troops of the Artillery Battalion of General Romualdas Giedraitis. In addition to Lithuanian troops, the team involves soldiers from Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Japan, Ukraine and the United States.
Lithuania started leading Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Ghor in June 2005. The main goal of the PRTs is to help Afghan authorities expand their influence in the province, ensure security and stability as well as form suitable conditions for reconstructing the province.