Lietuva in brief - 2005-10-12

  • 2005-10-12
French President Jacques Chirac urged Lithuania to become the European Union's voice in Belarus and pledged his full support. During a meeting with President Valdas Adamkus in Paris last week, Chirac said that Lithuania had to assume a leading position in these relations, as Belarus was its neighbor. The French president also thanked Lithuania for its efforts in reopening the European Humanities University in Vilnius, which was exiled from Minsk after over a decade of operation. The school was the only non-state educational establishment in Belarus with university status, but was forced to terminate its activity due to authority-initiated obstacles.

Belarus' government will not allow Lithuania to arrange a radioactive waste burial site near the border, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergey Sidorski said. "Plans to arrange a radioactive waste site near the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant were discussed during the visit. The Belarusian government stated that it would not allow such radioactive sources near the borders. An intergovernmental task force will be formed in the nearest future to make a decision on this problem," the prime minister said. Sidorski paid a brief informal visit to Vilnius, where he had dinner with Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.

The Russian fighter Su-27 crashed because of a mistake on the pilot's part, and it was not some kind of a diversion, Supreme Commander of the Russian Air Force Army General Vladimir Mikhailov said. "Lithuania's representatives are convinced that the plane crashed due to a mistake made by the pilot and the flight control team. It was not a diversion of sorts," he told journalists. "[Lithuania] had to live through this disgrace as the rest of NATO's members, including neighboring Poland, did not see [the flight of the Russian plane]." The interdepartmental commission that investigated the crash stated that the incident was caused by "a combination of technical, organizational and human actions."

Individuals, companies and organizations have donated over 49,000 litas (14,200 euros) to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the United States. The Lithuanian Red Cross Society finished collecting donations for residents along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico who were affected by the hurricane. During the month-long action, Lithuanians donated 45,000 litas by phone, SMS message or by money transfer. The collected funds will be transferred to a U.S. Red Cross account.