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Speech by President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania at the Inauguration of Vilnius Square in Tbilisi

Your Excellency Mr. President,
Distinguished Mayor,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


First of all, I would like to thank you all for a very warm reception.


In my lifetime, I had a chance to visit several public areas bearing Lithuanian names in other countries. You can find them in Chicago, New York, Latin America, and also in the freezing depths of Siberia. Threatened with death and extinction, the Lithuanian people would cut their mark into stone, into ice and, fortunately, into other people's memories.


Here in Tbilisi, such efforts may seem unnecessary. The reasons which drove my generation to make Lithuania a more visible case are in the past. And the name ‘Litva' seems to be known to virtually every Georgian.


Yet, exactly these circumstances make your generous token even more meaningful. We do remember that one-fifth of Georgia is occupied and that Georgia is under serious threat. We don't exclude that at present Sakartvelo may need protection and peace more than all the other European nations put together.


May this decision to name a square after Vilnius become a symbol of a strong Georgia! Strong by its ability in difficult times to care about small day-to-day issues of major long-term significance.


Your decision to give this square a new -- Lithuanian -- name in the year of Lithuania's Millennium speaks for itself. For one thousand years Georgia and Lithuania had known nearly nothing about each other. Now we are motivated and inspired every day to learn more and more. And not only about the good and bad things that you can find in media outlets.


Vilnius Square has an outstanding neighborhood -- the street of Daniel Chonkadze, the founding father of Ossetian literature, and the Mtatsminda Pantheon where the most prominent people of Georgia are buried.


One simple decision to wed us with this neighborhood has widened our horizons. Hopefully, this marriage will also offer the citizens and guests of Tbilisi many possibilities to learn about Vilnius, Lithuania and its people.


We really appreciate that you have chosen Vilnius to represent this newly reconstructed quarter of the city. And we wish that this cooperation started today develops into stronger relations between our cities and regions, between Georgia and Lithuania.


Allow me to wish you - the brave, dynamic and vibrant Georgian nation - to go on with your dreams of independence, peace and Euro-Atlantic integration. You have millions of friends in Lithuania, you have millions of sympathies all over the world.


Thank you indeed.
Didi madloba!



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