Duda appeared alongside his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nausėda at a special sitting of the Seimas, focusing on the historic legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which existed from 1569 to 1795.
Beginning his speech in Lithuanian, the Polish president went on to say that both countries were “not just neighbours,” but “brothers,” with “several hundred years of beautiful shared history” as a military and political alliance and “a great civilisation we created together.”
Duda also paid tribute to “Lithuanian patriots who sacrificed their lives for your freedom and ours” as the country emerged from Soviet control in 1991.
The Polish president noted that today both Poland and Lithuania were part of the European Union and NATO as well as the Three Seas Initiative of 12 European states between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas.
“Poland and Lithuania are as one in their opposition to aggression, to fomenting trouble, to violation of our borders,” Duda said in Vilnius on Tuesday.
"Poland and Lithuania are joint defenders of Europe against tyranny," he added.
He thanked Lithuania for its help as both countries struggle to fend off a “hybrid attack by the regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.”
Duda said both countries were aiding the democratic opposition in Belarus, a nation also steeped in the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
'Centuries of beautiful, shared history'
“But mostly I thank you for the centuries of beautiful, shared history,” Duda told Lithuanian lawmakers. “Thank you for everything. Thank you, Lithuania,” he concluded, as quoted by the PAP news agency.
Earlier on Tuesday the president, who is on a two-day visit to Poland’s Baltic neighbour, talked privately with Nausėda and also took part in a Presidential Council meeting where both heads of state were accompanied by their countries' foreign affairs and defence ministers, the Polish presidential office said.
At a joint news conference afterwards, Duda referred to a migrant crisis on the EU's border with Belarus, saying that his country and its Baltic neighbours expected "solidarity in the face of a hybrid attack against Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the EU in general.”
“We expect the European Council to put further sanctions on the Belarusian regime,” Duda told reporters, as quoted by his office.
Earlier in the day, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the EU’s top diplomats had agreed to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for the migrant crisis.
Duda told reporters in Vilnius that Poland was "treating with the utmost responsibility” the duty to protect its frontier, which is also the external border of the European bloc, against illegal migration “engineered by the Lukashenko regime,” his office reported.
During his two-day stay in Lithuania, the Polish president is also scheduled to talk with Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and parliamentary Speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.
Source: PAP, prezydent.pl