Leaders defend Conservative MP

  • 2000-07-06
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Lithuanian parliamentary board has rejected a
group of lawmakers' request for proof of a statement made by Deputy
Parliamentary Chairman Rasa Jukneviciene that half the Russian
Embassy's staff worked for secret intelligence.

Some 28 members of Parliament signed a document to the parliamentary
board last week calling for a "public answer" about the specific
evidence held by Jukneviciene.

The lawmakers said unfounded statements could impair relations
between the countries.

A member of the parliamentary board, Parliamentary Chancellor Jurgis
Razma, told a news conference on June 19 "the board does not
consider and does not evaluate statements made by lawmakers, even by
individual members of the board."

In Razma's words, the board decided that "if Jukneviciene's utterance
offended 28 members of parliament, they can take the issue to the
commission of ethics and procedures.

"If the 28 lawmakers want to assist the Russian Embassy in
representing Russia's interests, they can take the issue to the
Lithuanian Foreign Ministry after receiving the necessary powers,"
said Razma, citing the board's reply.

The parliamentary board comprises Parliamentary Chairman Vytautas
Landsbergis, his four deputies and the chancellor, Razma.

Expressing concern for Russia's foreign policy with regard to
Lithuania, Jukneviciene said last week that like 60 years ago, "the
way is being paved for turning Lithuania into a satelite-country"
existing next to Russia.

Jukneviciene said then that about half the 100-member staff of the
Russia's embassy in Lithuania "are working in the intelligence
services aimed at influencing state politicians, political officials
and looking for contacts with some part of the media."