Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskait? has turned down an invitation to a regional summit in Poland after Warsaw protested the situation of the Polish minority in the Baltic state. EURACTIV Poland reports.
Grybauskait? was invited by her Polish colleague Bronis?aw Komorowski, alongside Latvian and Estonian heads of state, to discuss a common stand ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago, on 20-21 May.
But Grybauskait? saw the meeting as useless, saying she had already discussed the NATO summit with the Polish and Latvian presidents.
"Issues related to preparation for the NATO summit have already been discussed with the Polish president and also with the president of Latvia," said Grybauskait?.
Media commented that the snub was in fact a clear sign of worsening relations between Lithuania and Poland, after Warsaw protested changes to Lithuanian education policy that are seen as restricting access to Polish language teaching.
Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek, the Polish presidential spokesperson, said Komorowski regretfully accepted Grybauskait?’s decision. Komorowski was still hoping to discuss with Grybauskait? the issues raised at Tuesday's meeting, she said.
Analysts said the snub by the Lithuanian president will further deteriorate bilateral relations, which are already not at their best, and will also impact negatively on Lithuania's image.
K?stutis Girnius, a political scientist, said the snub would accentuate the image of Lithuania as a "capricious partner", according to the Lithuanian newspaper 'Lietuvos Rytas'.
Ramunas Vilpiszauskas, another political scientist, called the Lithuanian leaders’s decision "incomprehensible" and "unjustified"
"Behaving in this way, Lithuania does not contribute to the development of constructive bilateral relations," he said, according to 'Lietuvos Rytas'.
Meanwhile, Lithuanian Parliament Vice President ?eslovas Jurš?nas said Grybauskait? "just showed character" by behaving in this way. He recalled that Polish Foreign Minister Rados?aw Sikorski had said that he will not travel to Lithuania, as long as "certain things are not done".
"It is blackmail", said Jurš?nas, referring to Sikorski's statement.