The Baltic Times
August 9, 2006

The Lithuania-Iceland 2006 campaign has collected almost two-thirds of the planned signatures, or 180,000. Organizers have 10 days left to collect the remaining signatures as an expression of the nation’s gratitude to Iceland for the recognition of Lithuania’s independence in 1991. All collected signatures will be taken to Iceland by Lithuanian swimmer Vidmantas Urbonas, who will swim across the Channel. L.T. United, the band that represented Lithuania at this year’s Eurovision and took sixth place there, will stage a concert in Reykjavik on Aug. 18.

UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura thanked Lithuania last week for hosting the World Heritage Committee session, which was held in Vilnius last month. The director general also voiced appreciation for President Valdas Adamkus’ personal pledge to preserve the Old Town of Vilnius. In his letter, Matsuura wrote that he believes this event will lead to a better understanding of the role of states that are parties to the convention in solving the issues related to cultural cooperation in today’s global community.

The Lithuanian World Community must find better ways to respond to new national challenges, Adamkus said this week. “Large numbers of Lithuanians have lately left our country, however, leaving Lithuania does not mean that we are foreswearing our home country. I am convinced that the Lithuanian World Community will manage to meet the new challenges and become a community uniting all Lithuanians,” Adamkus said in his opening speech at the 12th meeting of the LWC Seimas. In the president’s words, the main goals of the Lithuanian World Community should include “the preservation of the Lithuanian spirit of fellow countrymen living far from Lithuania, the development of ties with the land of their ancestors, rallying the community and work for the common benefit.”

A member of the Civil Democracy Party’s presidium, Pranciskus Jurgutis, said that he would terminate operations by the Euroregionas Livonija-Baltija foundation that is linked with Russia. After suspicions were cast over the foundation’s activities, the parliamentary speaker asked the State Security Department to confirm or deny media reports about the possible anti-Lithuanian operations of the Jurgutis-led foundation. According to the media, activities of the foundation and its branches in the Baltic states were aimed against the construction of nuclear waste storage facilities at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. The foundation also countered the expansion of nuclear energy in Lithuania. Some sources said that the Pskov-registered international foundation, which is patronized by the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, already had branches in Estonia, Latvia, Belarus and the Kaliningrad region.