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Polish president to give state award to Lithuanian PM

VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is going to Poland on Tuesday to receive a state award from President Andrzej Duda. 

The Grand Cross of the Order of Merit for the Republic of Poland has been awarded to Skvernelis in recognition of contribution to strengthening the dialog between the two neighboring countries. 

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, received the same award last year. 

As part of his visit, Skvernelis will meet with the Polish president and its prime minister to discuss measures to strengthen resilience to historical distortions, bilateral relations, ongoing joint projects, and a possible second wave of COVID-19.

The Baltic countries and Poland have in recent years voiced concern over Russia's efforts to play down the 1939 Soviet-German non-aggression treaty which helped pave the way for World War Two.  

In protest, the Lithuanian and Polish presidents earlier this year boycotted a major Holocaust commemoration event in Jerusalem where Russian President Vladimir Putin was invited to deliver a key speech.   

The Russian parliament has registered an initiative to reverse the 1989 condemnation of the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact. 

Signed in August 1939, the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, contained secret protocols that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. It led to the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the Soviet occupation of the Baltic nations in 1940. 

The meetings in Warsaw will also focus on Via Baltica Rail Baltica, Harmony Link and other ongoing European-scale infrastructure projects, according to the Lithuanian government's press release. 

On Wednesday, Skvernelis will attend an event marking the 610th anniversary of the Battle of Zalgiris (Grunwald). Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda will also travel to Poland to attend the commemoration. 


Polish president to give state award to Lithuanian PM

Facemasks may become mandatory again in Lithuania, PM says

If the number of coronavirus infections rises, facemasks will again become mandatory in public transport, shops, and indoor events, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday.

He instructed the Cabinet to draft a resolution in case the government decides next week to reintroduce the wearing of facemasks.

"I'm not saying the draft resolution will be adopted next week and the masks will be reintroduced," Skvernelis posted on Facebook. "For now, this is a precaution that we may need if we see an increase in the number of infections."

"I do hope this isn't going to happen and we won't have to return to masks and other measures," he added.

Skvernelis called on people to voluntarily wear face masks in public transport, shops and events, where the risk of contracting the virus is higher.

 

"I wouldn't say for now that we are on the brink of a second wave [of Covid-19],” he said. "I'd like to ask everyone to behave responsibly. This particularly concerns people who return to Lithuania from abroad.”

As the Cabinet was discussing raising the attendance limit on public gatherings earlier on Wednesday, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga warned that the mandatory wearing of facemasks at indoor events might be reintroduced if the virus starts spreading at a faster pace.

Ten new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Lithuania on Wednesday.

Lithuania condemns any use of chemical weapons

On 7-10 July, the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ambassador Vidmantas Purlys attends the 94th session of the Executive Council of the OPCW in The Hague. The most important item on the Council’s agenda – the first report of 8 April by the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which concluded that units of the Syrian Arab Air Force had used chemical weapons in Syria in March 2017.

The Ambassador emphasized Lithuania’s support for the investigation of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its findings. V. Purlys recalled that Lithuania strongly condemned any use of chemical weapons and, therefore, believed that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

The Ambassador V. Purlys also drew the Council‘s attention to the problem of chemical weapons dumped at sea, which required consistent cooperation among international organizations, governments, science, industry, and non-governmental organizations. He also underlined that the OPCW had the necessary expertise and technological infrastructure to ensure such cooperation.

On 12 May 2020, Lithuania was elected for the first time ever as a member state to the Executive Council for the 2020-2022 period.

The OPCW, with its 193 member states, was established in 1997. The organization oversees the global endeavor to eliminate chemical weapons.

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