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Polish president attends Lithuanian centenary

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 16.02.2018 14:46
Polish President Andrzej Duda and other European leaders have taken part in Friday events marking the 100th anniversary of the signing of an Act of Reinstating the Independence of Lithuania in Vilnius.
Agata Kornhauser-Duda, Dalia Grybauskaitė and Andrzej Duda. Photo: Jakub Szymczuk/KPRP.Agata Kornhauser-Duda, Dalia Grybauskaitė and Andrzej Duda. Photo: Jakub Szymczuk/KPRP.

One hundred Polish and Lithuanian couples were expected to dance a traditional Polish polonaise at Vilnius City Hall, and church bells across the country rang at 12:30 pm, marking the exact time Lithuanian independence was enacted in 1918.

Duda said 2018 was a special year for both Poland and Lithuania, as the end of World War I in 1918 allowed both those countries to regain independence after years of partitions and foreign occupation.

He added that the fortunes of Poland and Lithuania have been intertwined throughout history.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said: “At the beginning of the last century we looked with hope for the slightest support. Today we know what a friendly shoulder ... means”.

Duda and his wife, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, celebrated alongside Grybauskaitė, the presidents of Germany, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia and Iceland, and European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Duda is in Lithuania on a three-day visit which started on Thursday with a meeting with Poles in Lithuania, the country's largest ethnic minority group.

On Sunday he is set to meet Grybauskaitė.

Poland and Lithuania formed a commonwealth, officially called the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later the Commonwealth of Poland, from 1569 until both countries disappeared from the map in Europe as a result of partitions.

On 16 February 1918, the Council of Lithuania signed an act announcing the country's independence. But the country remained under German occupation at the time and the document signified only the nation's desire for sovereignty.

Lithuania formally gained independence after the end of the World War I. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP, IAR, prezydent.pl

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