Speaker of the Seimas: ‘Iceland has given us a lesson of support and understanding’
Press release, 11 February 2023
Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, says that Lithuania will always be grateful to Iceland and its people for their historic courage and support in 1991. On 11 February of the same year, the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi, adopted a resolution declaring the validity of the 1922 recognition of the independent State of Lithuania by Iceland and calling for the restoration of bilateral diplomatic relations.
‘This historic step by Iceland confirmed that we are on the right track and encouraged us to stick to it without deviation. At the same time, the Icelandic move prompted the same from other countries that had been delaying the recognition of Lithuania as an independent state in their naïve belief that the collapse of the Soviet Union would shatter peace in the world. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed, but peace remained intact.
Lithuania has learnt this lesson beyond forgetting. Ultimately, what matters is not our physical size but the magnitude of our courage and the depth of our sense of freedom. Therefore, a bit more than three decades on, Lithuania has been among the first countries to extend a helping hand to Ukraine, which has been defending, for nearly a year now, the peace and security threatened by Russia in the region, Europe and the world. Now, just like back then, some Western countries are still hesitant. I wish them the Icelandic courage to express their position clearly. Ukraine has confidence in itself, but it very much needs our support and assistance for both winning the war and becoming a member of the EU and NATO,’ said Ms Čmilytė-Nielsen.