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2019.07.17 10:59

Divisive Polish-minority issue escapes Nausėda’s promises in Warsaw meeting

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said during his visit to Poland he couldn't give promises that Lithuania would legalize the original spelling of Polish names on identity documents.

Lithuanian Poles and Warsaw have been asking many years for the possibility to spell their names on identity documents in Polish.

During a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday, Nausėda said the Lithuanian Seimas does not have a common position on this issue.

"I am not a person who gives promises easily, and I think we only need to make promises we can keep, as failure to keep promises given in the past leads to certain mutual misunderstanding and relation burden," the president said on Tuesday.

"The situation is not easy as the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania now has, I believe, three positions on the matter, and there's no common position," he said.

Nausėda also underlined that "ethnic minorities in Lithuania are not a problem, but they are an asset" helping to maintain friendly relations with Poland.

Critics say, however, allowing Polish name spellings would undermine the status of Lithuanian language and would bring confusion to institutions.

Before becoming Lithuania's president, Nausėda was against the initiative to legalize the original Polish spelling of names, saying that such an option could only be possible on the second passport page.

The Lithuanian president also proposed restoring the bilateral presidential committee for the discussion of Lithuanian-Polish relations.

According to Duda, it shows that Nausėda is open to conversations on the situation of the Polish minority. "It’s a good promise for the future," the Polish president said.

Two separate bills on the original name-spelling are currently put before the Lithuanian Seimas, with one proposing allowing the original spelling on the main page, and the second suggests allowing doing that on an additional passport page.