Speaker of the Seimas: ‘The Baltic States and the Czech Republic have suffered enough of historic wounds to alert their hesitant European partners to the possible threats’
Press release, 30 March 2022
At the meeting with Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, in Prague on 30 March 2022, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, underlined that Lithuania also greatly counted on the Western help when defending its freedom a century ago. Like the Czech Republic, Lithuania also hoped for this help years later when the Soviet tanks rolled over the cobblestone streets of Prague.
‘The wounds suffered by our countries are the best arguments to hesitant European politicians. It is better to lend a helpful hand too early than regret doing it too late,’ said the Speaker of the Seimas.
Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen participated in the conference dedicated to the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Baltic States and the Czech Republic and took part in the official meeting in the Chamber of Deputies, where the joint declaration was signed. She also laid flowers at the place where Jan Palach, a student of the Charles University in Prague, had set himself on fire in protest against the Soviet rule in 1969.
At the conference, Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen recalled Lithuania’s difficult path towards international recognition and towards the right to be an independent and sovereign state.
‘Today, Ukraine faces a similar challenge. The same way as Lithuania back in 1918–1920, Ukrainians are now fighting with arms in hand for the right to be a free nation, to have their own state, and to choose their own way of development. Let us remember that Ukraine is defending not only its own honour and dignity, but also that of all of us as Europeans. Ukraine is standing for freedom, democracy and international law.
The people of Belarus are also fighting for their right to freedom. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the democratically elected leader of Belarus, has been asking us to recognise her full legitimacy and open her offices in the capitals of Europe ever since August 2020. Nearly two years have passed, but she has only one office. In general, the Western interest in her fight is fading, and Lukashenko continues to trade in his nation’s sovereignty with Putin,’ Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen said.
According to the Speaker of the Seimas, the Baltic States and the Czech Republic have sufficient historical experience to warn European partners of the risks that may stem from their hesitation.
‘That is why I have emphasised that by pooled efforts we can remedy this situation. When celebrating our achievements over the century, we should also recall their origins and the pitfalls that could have led to a completely different outcome. I have called for delivering these lessons to a wider international audience and ensuring that decisions taken today enable us to avoid the repetition of past mistakes,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas: Conference dedicated to the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Baltic States and the Czech Republic
At the official meeting in the Chamber of Deputies, the Speakers of the Baltic and Czech Parliaments signed a declaration calling on the international community to take all the necessary steps to defend the international order, including the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, to further expand sanctions against Russia and Belarus, and to prosecute war crimes.
‘We reiterate that the Ukrainians are defending not only their own country but also the democratic values on which current European security architecture and the European way of life are built. We support the Ukrainian EU membership aspiration. The candidate status should be granted to Ukraine as soon as possible,’ the declaration concludes.
On the same day, the Speaker of the Seimas also visited the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to meet with its CEO, Jamie Fly, and heads of its Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian newsrooms. Afterwards, she gave an interview to the Current Time TV Channel.
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas: Meeting with Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Photo by Olga Posaškova, Office of the Seimas: Ceremony in honour of Jan Palach
Ilona Petrovė, Spokesperson of Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6030, mob. +370 698 42071, e-mail: [email protected]