Lithuania was cast in the important role of mediator in the current Ukrainian election
crisis, when President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania and President Aleksander Kwasniewski of
Poland were asked by the outgoing Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma to come to Kiev to
mediate among the Ukrainian presidential candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych.
Yushchenko's supporters agreed to talk to Yanukovych only with the help of the trusted
intermediaries Adamkus and Kwasniewski, whose efforts resulted in the opposing sides
beginning to talk to each other.
President Adamkus with
Ukrainian presidential contenders
V.Yushchenko (left) and V.Yanukovych (right)
Political commentators have interpreted Adamkus' invitation as an endorsement and
recognition of Lithuania's foreign policy groundwork. USA embassy in Vilnius said that
this mission shows the respect in which Lithuania is held by other countries. Vienna's
newspaper "Kurier" declared that if Lithuania and Poland can assist with the solution of
the Ukrainian crisis, the recent European Union expansion will have been shown to have
repaid itself over and over. President Adamkus has already had to make a second mediation
trip to Kiev last Wednesday (1/12/04) and says will make further trips if necessary.
(first from right)
at the negotiating table.
Photo courtesy ELTA
Sources: www.delfi.lt 28/11/04, The Independent 26/11/04, 27/11/04