Polish MP Bogdan Klich: Warsaw views signals from Vilnius as promising

Warsaw sees the first signals from Vilnius about national minorities as very promising, Polish Senate member Bogdan Klich, the country's former defense minister, has said in Lithuania on Friday.


The prominent Polish politician emphasized that Poland was awaiting Lithuania's decisions about Polish-language education and the right to use the original spelling of theit first and last names.


"The first signals coming here from Vilnius are promising and it is necessary to translate those signals into reality," Klich, who is currently attending the informal Snow Meeting of political strategists in Lithuania's historic capital of Trakai, told BNS.


"We are looking very carefully at first announcements from your government, your ministers. We believe there will be a shift in our bilateral relations that were not too good last year," he added.


Speaking about the strong-worded statements made by Warsaw over the past few years, Klich said that Poland only wanted to emphasize it wanted tangible decisions.


"In Poland, we were waiting for decision concerning (spelling of) names and concerning Polish education here in Lithuania for a long time," the Polish Senate member told BNS.


"I am sorry that, during last year, there was such a crisis in our bilateral relations and I am absolutely convinced that security of my country is connected to security of yours, and our strategic interests are the same," the politician said in the interview.


Klich cited statements made by Lithuania's new Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius about national minority rights. Linkevičius has said that Lithuania "should act European" and could "get name-spelling matters in motion."


In its program, Lithuania's government pledged to "solve the spelling of first and last names in personal documents and the spelling of place-names" in line with the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.


The Cabinet also promised to "seek that the official examination of the Lithuanian language for students of non-Lithuanian schools be moved to a later date."