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Toast by President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania at a Reception to Celebrate the Millennium of Lithuania in Tbilisi

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I am delighted to welcome you all at this reception dedicated to the Millennium of Lithuania and the forthcoming national Day of Lithuania - King Mindaugas Day. Many thanks to everybody who assisted us in the organization process! We really appreciate your support. Georgia, too, has widespread support in Lithuania as we well remember from the tragic events of last August.


Ladies and Gentlemen,


One thousand years ago, the name of Lithuania was mentioned for the first time in written sources. Today, this gives us a reason to get together and celebrate.

 

But one thousand years ago, successful reunification of the formerly divided lands of Georgia under the leadership of Bagrati III gave birth to another eminent name -- Sakartvelo.

 

The paths of Lithuania and Georgia had barely crossed throughout this historical period of one thousand years. Still, there are striking similarities between the two nations. Ours was the task to defend Christianity in the outskirts of Europe. Ours was the fate of succumbing to the imperialistic expansion of the Russian Empire at the turn of the 19th century.

 

Located at the crossroads of civilizations, Georgia and Lithuania produced a culture of ethnic and religious tolerance, which perhaps is the reason why we understand each other so well. However, our nations failed to withstand the onslaught of the Bolshevik bigotry in the 20th century, which cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of our citizens killed by the Soviet regime. Hundreds of thousands of those who survived still have to cope with the traumas of Soviet dominance.

 

Today our countries are seeking security through integration into the European and transatlantic structures. Despite our different progress on this path, the security dilemmas remain the same. We are neighbors of a power which hardly ever accepts common rules but the ones set by herself. Whether we can constrain this power by inviting and integrating her into a broader international framework remains unclear.

 

I wish that the Second Millennium would bring a new quality of development for both Sakartvelo and Lithuania. The beginnings can be discerned already. I welcome EU ambassadors in Tbilisi who effectively represent at the local level the power of Europe and European ideals.

 

I also welcome the representatives of the European Union's Monitoring Mission that provides at least minimal security guarantees to the citizens of the regions bordering the conflict zones which are an integral part of Georgia.

 

We all perfectly know this is not our limit. We can do more. Western democracies can offer more security to Georgia and its people. Georgia, too, knows she has not yet reached the ceiling as to improving her political realities and creating more opportunities dialogue and cooperation.

 

The question remains: why are we lingering?


Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The most significant achievements of Lithuania throughout one thousand years relate to the brave and ambitious choices made by its people. And I know it is not easy to make such choices either in Lithuania or across the world. It is challenging hard to carry out reforms, to hear your opponent, to put aside emotions, and to devote yourself to your country and nation. But this is the only way to make your people happy and to make your country safe, blossoming, independent and strong enough to withstand whatever challenges from wherever they may come.

 

I raise this toast to the brave and bold choices we are going to make. To our future, to our success, to our prosperity!

Litvas gaumarjos! Sakartvelos gaumarjos! Evropas gaumarjos!

 

Thank you.

 

H.E. Mr. Valdas Adamkus, President of the Republic of Lithuania

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