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We don't need Polish 'big brother' says Lithuanian Foreign Minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 03.01.2012 08:19
In the wake of failed bilateral talks on Polish minority schools in Lithuania, the Lithuanian foreign minister has said that his country “do not need a big brother.”

Foreign Minister Audronius Azulis said that Poland had “driven into a dead end” by trying to influence internal Lithuanian affairs.

“Our government said clearly: all issues relating to citizens, regardless of whether they relate to minorities, shall be settled by we ourselves,” he told the Lithuanian IQ magazine.

The foreign minister added that his own country was not to blame for the problems.

“Vilnius is not responsible for tensions in Polish-Lithuanian relations,” he said.

Late November saw the last in a series of five cross-national talks in which representatives of Poland and Lithuania debated new Lithuanian education laws.

As of 1 September 2011, a law has been enforced by Vilnius to the effect that History and Geography lessons must be taught in Lithuanian, regardless of whether the school is for ethnic minorities.

As of 2013, schoolchildren in Lithuania must take their final pre-university exams in Lithuanian.

No compromise was found between Polish and Lithuanian representatives at the talks, with the former arguing against the reforms.

Adding to Foreign Minister Azulis's remarks, Lithuanian MEP Vytautas Landsbergis suggested to the IQ weekly that Poland was aping Russian bullying tactics.

“If Poland is learning to be great by following the Russian model, this is probably not the right path to take,” he said.

He added that Poland “will not be respected” for intimidating smaller nations.

“I regret that the Polish authorities have chosen this path,” he said. (nh/pg)

Source: PAP

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