Vice-Minister of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jaroslav Neverovič welcomed the participants on behalf of Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Petras Vaitiekūnas.
‘In the world of today Lithuania and Poland have to participate actively together in the creation of the future of their own countries, the region and whole Europe. The motto ‘For our freedom and yours’ appeared in the 19th century in the lands of Lithuania and Poland. It has remained important in today’s Europe. The conflict in Georgia demonstrated that Europe had to speak in one voice, thus guaranteeing security and stability in the Eastern neighbourhood,’ indicated Vice-Minister of Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs J.Neverovič.
Undersecretary of State of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrzej Kremer also welcomed the participants of the event on behalf of Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski. He stressed that the intensity of the Lithuanian-Polish relations in various areas, especially in those of energy security and the Eastern policy, is the first of such level in Europe. Lithuania and Poland share common history and bitter experience. According to A.Kremer, today we are in solidarity with our partner Georgia, which has, just like us, chosen the path of liberty, democracy and integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures.
The guest of honour of the conference, former President of the Republic of Poland, founder of the Solidarność (Reform Movement of Poland) and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Wałęsa gave a speech. He noted that after the Iron Curtain was removed and a giant leap was made into the modern civilised world, now we needed to face the challenges of globalisation and the social inequality was among them.
A welcoming speech was delivered by former Chairman of the Supreme Council (Reconstituent Seimas) of Lithuania and Chairman of Sąjūdis (Reform Movement of Lithuania), current Member of the European Parliament Vytautas Landsbergis. V.Landsbergis indicated that twenty years ago the Solidarność (‘Solidarity’) sounded like an idea which later developed into the banner of freedom. It gave an impetus to start other movements, including the Sąjūdis. Today, according to V.Landsbergis, it is necessary to foster the solidarity of our nations and all the countries around the Baltic Sea.
Participants of the conference discussed three topics: ‘the Sąjūdis and Solidarność movements: from distrust to cooperation’, ‘1988-1991: international environment, the situation in Lithuania and Poland’ and ‘Lithuanian Poles and Polish Lithuanians: traditions, identity and integration challenges’.
At the conference, Lithuania was represented by Members of the Seimas, Signatories of the Act on the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania by the Supreme Council of Lithuania, representatives from the Lithuanian Government, members of the Sąjūdis Initiative Group, employees of the Lithuanian Institute of History and Lithuanian diplomats.
The patrons of the event were Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Petras Vaitiekūnas and Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski. The conference was organised by the Lithuanian Institute of History, the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Poland and the Royal Castle in Warsaw.
Lithuanian and Polish politicians, historians, diplomats and public figures took part in the conference.
On the eve of the conference, the Lithuanian delegation visited the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw, were prominent Polish public figures are buried. Among them - Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Bronisław Geremek, Jacek Kuroń, Marek Karp who have contributed greatly to the strengthening and fostering of the partnership between Lithuania and Poland. The Lithuanian delegation observed a minute of silence as a mark of respect to their memory and laid flowers on their tombs.
This year the 5th of September also marks the 17th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and Poland.