Lithuania irked by Schroeder's Kaliningrad visit

22nd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 June 2005, VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis has criticised Tuesday's decision by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to attend 750th anniversary celebrations in the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, it was reported on Wednesday.

22 June 2005

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis has criticised Tuesday's decision by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to attend 750th anniversary celebrations in the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, it was reported on Wednesday.

"Sometimes it seems as if German politicians make decisions without considering the historical and political sensitivities of our region," Valionis told Baltic news agency BNS.

Kaliningrad was once part of the Prussian Empire and prior to the close of the Second World War bore the name Koenigsberg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to expressly include the city's German-era history in the '750 Years of Kaliningrad' celebrations, to be held July 3, and issued a formal invitation to Schroeder.

The historically-disputed Baltic region is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania. Called Karaliaucius in Lithuanian, Kaliningrad played an important role in the country's history up to the 18th century. To this day, the main transit route between Russia and its Baltic exclave, secured after years of negotiations, runs through Lithuania.

However neither the president nor prime minister of either nation has been invited to the party.

Poland's German ambassador Andrzej Byrt in a German newspaper article recently called for "neighbouring countries" to participate "at the same level" in the Kaliningrad anniversary.

"We read the signs now," said Valionis. "And we will answer them."

The spat follows Russia's controversial honouring of the end of the Second World War earlier this year. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus declined an invitation to attend lavish celebrations in Moscow, citing "differences in the understanding of history".

The Baltic Republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were long occupied by Russia following the Second World War.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article