VILNIUS - Poland's Lech Kaczynski was mostly optimistic during his state visit to Lithuania Sept. 4-5, stating that the two neighbors should focus on strengthening their strategic partnership and making energy and infrastructure problems a priority.
"Bilateral relations have developed in view of our membership in the European Union and NATO, but are not only related to membership. These relations hold a special value because we are neighbors, and because we are linked by deep historical ties," Kaczynski said.
In his words, the past 15 years have shown just how strongly the two countries are linked.
"We have experienced both the best and the worst of times and have shown that we're able to develop a strategic partnership. As members of the EU and NATO we are able to seek common objectives," Kaczynski said.
He noted that both countries had problems related to energy and rail transport (see story Page 5), but said he believed that EU membership would help solve these problems. The Polish government was striving to improve communication between Vilnius and Warsaw, not only geographically but technically, the president said.
The Lithuanian media has been critical of Polish leaders over the past year, accusing them of stonewalling an important infrastructure project that would help connect the Baltic state with the EU 's e.g., the Baltic railroad and a power link connecting the two countries.
Kaczynski also mentioned minority problems with Poles in Lithuania and visa-versa but expressed hope that these issues could be solved.
The president's visit coincided with the 15th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian-Polish diplomatic relations on Sept. 5. A number of celebrations 's both official and festive 's took place in Vilnius to commemorate the event.
Top-ranking Polish officials 's Parliamentary Speaker Marek Jurek, his deputy Jaroslaw Kalinowski, Senate Chairman Bogdan Borusewicz, and Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski 's accompanied Kaczynski on his visit.
A Holy Mass was held at the Vilnius Cathedral, followed by an official meeting at the President's Office. The celebration's highlight, a parade of Lithuania and Poland's guard of honor, attracted a large crowd. The anniversary took a more festive tone at dusk, with an outdoor concert in K. Sirvydo Square by Lithuanian and Polish folk ensembles.
Poland recognized Lithuania's independence on Aug. 26, 1991. The two countries restored diplomatic relations on Sept. 5, 1991.
President Valdas Adamkus intends to visit Poland on Sept. 29, where he will attend Lithuanian Days in Poland