Polish, Lithuanian presidents talk bilateral relations, Belarus

Marcin Obara/PAP

The Polish and Lithuanian Presidents Andrzej Duda and Gitanas Nauseda, respectively, have said that bilateral relations have been and will remain stable and friendly and also discussed the situation in Belarus.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart in Vilnius on Tuesday, President Duda said his visit to Lithuania had a symbolic dimension since it was taking place after the parliamentary election, when the change of power was taking place and a new government was being formed in that country.

"I think that it should be understood that this visit has been taking place because Polish-Lithuanian relations are not affected by any changes on the Lithuanian political scene. Similarly, I am convinced that they are not affected by any changes on the Polish political scene," President Duda said, describing these relations as "good-neighbourly and friendly."

"These are relations of two nations linked by a common great history," he said.

The two presidents spoke about bilateral relations, the situation in Belarus, the Eastern partnership programme and the new EU budget. President Duda started a two-day working visit to Lithuania on Tuesday.

The Polish head of state expressed hope that bilateral relations could be elevated to a higher level, and said that the Presidential Council was planned to help achieve this goal. A declaration on establishing the council, planned as a forum of meetings and talks regarding Polish-Lithuanian and regional relations, was signed by the two presidents on Tuesday.

In this context, President Duda said that both Poland and Lithuania were committed to the situation in Belarus. "We wish the Belarusian people well, we wish entire Belarusian society well, we wish them to live in a free and democratic country, to be free people and to be part of the great community of the west. This is what we wish them and what we have been trying to support, if they ask us for this support," Duda said, adding that both he and Nauseda wanted the Presidential Council to discuss such matters.

Referring to the next EU budget and the mechanism linking EU funds with the rule of law, the Polish president said that, in Poland's opinion, "neither any elements nor any evaluation criteria from outside the treaty could be introduced." " Everything must be in accordance with the European Treaties," he said.

Duda added that any changes regarding the EU budget should be introduced by means of changing treaty provisions. "If anyone wants to change something in this field, please present proposals of treaty changes. And then we will be able to discuss them on the EU forum and in the presence of all the nations of a united Europe," he went on to say.

The Polish president said that Poland could accept neither a dictate nor the introduction of solutions from outside the treaties, and added that criteria had to be clear and that all states should be equally treated and have an equal status.

President Nauseda told reporters that other subjects of their conversation included security guarantees, human rights and the primacy of European Union law.

Referring to the presidential election in the US, Nauseda said that both he and Duda were happy to learn that the security of the Baltic Sea region continued to be an important priority of the US Administration. He also said that he was glad that Poland and Lithuania had a similar opinion about the Eastern Partnership.

Speaking about Belarus and violations of human rights in that country, the Lithuanian president said that they were unacceptable and could not be tolerated.

President Nauseda told reporters that he had been invited by his Polish counterpart to visit Poland during next year's observances marking the 230th anniversary of the May 3, 1791, Constitution, and said that he had accepted the invitation with pleasure.