Lithuania in brief

  • 2004-01-15
MPs from the opposition Homeland Union party and Conservatives staged a walkout in Parliament as President Rolandas Paksas addressed lawmakers on Jan. 13. Homeland Union argued that Paksas, who was speaking on the occasion of the national Day of Freedom Defenders, had lost his moral authority.

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi officially cancelled a planned visit to Vilnius, originally scheduled for April. Ciampi cited his desire not to interfere in Lithuania's internal affairs as the reason for the cancellation.

Paksas was informed through unofficial channels in early January that he would not be welcome to make a speech at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg scheduled for this spring. Presidential diplomatic affairs adviser Eitvydas Bajarunas confirmed to reporters that his office had received unsolicited advice from Strasbourg cautioning the president against visiting.
Petras Vaitiekunas, Paksas' nominee for the position of presidential foreign affairs adviser, has broken contact with the Presidential Palace. Paksas told reporters at a Jan. 12 press conference that he had been unable to reach Vaitiekunas, Lithuania's former ambassador to Latvia, for several days.

Thieves stole an estimated 700,000 litas (203,000 euros) from a Vilnius branch of Hansabankas on the evening of Jan. 7. Falck Security, whose guards were watching the branch at the time, has offered a 50,000 litas reward for information leading to prosecution of the thieves.

Nijole Sustauskiene, wife of controversial MP Vytautas Sus-tauskas, told journalists that her husband attempted to beat her on Jan. 11. Sustauskiene earlier explained to police who had been called to the Sustauskas' Kaunas home that the lawmaker, who maintains close ties to some of Lithuania's most notorious criminals, had not touched her.