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We do not link minority rights with business, says Lithuania

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 22.03.2013 08:51
The Lithuanian government says Poland's foreign minister contravened diplomatic ethics when he tied together better Polish minority rights in the Baltic state with joint energy projects.

Polish minority, Lithuania: photo - wikicommons

“We will solve problems of minority rights but we do not link these two things together,” Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevičius said on Thursday.

The government in Vilnius was responding to a statement made by Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski when he was laying out Poland's main foreign policy goals in a speech to parliament on Wednesday.

Poland has complained about an education law passed by the Lithuanian parliament which limits the amount of teaching in the Polish language for Polish-Lithuanian children.

The Polish minority has also called for them to be allowed to spell their names with Polish characters in official documents and not in the Lithuanian alphabet.

Sikorski said that it would be easier to agree joint energy and transport projects with Vilnius if the 200,000 Lithuanians of Polish decent were better respected.

Lithuania's prime minister Algirdas Butkevičius said, according to the PAP news agency that Radoslaw Sikorski's statement was “contrary to diplomatic practice, especially when coming from a foreign minister". (pg)

source: IAR

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