Lithuania, Germany to sign agreement on 1918 independence act at a later date

The signing of an agreement on a temporary depositing of the original copy of Lithuania's 1918 Act of Independence in Vilnius has been put off to a later date due to changes in German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's schedule.

A spokeswoman for Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Thursday that the new date was still being finalized. The ministers had planned to sign the agreement in Berlin on Friday.

"Because of changes in the German foreign minister's schedule, another date for the signing is being arranged," Rasa Jakilaitiene, the spokeswoman, told BNS

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday gave the green light for signing the agreement with Germany. Under the draft agreement, the depositing of the document in Lithuania would have to be renewed annually, but the maximum period would not exceed five years.

The Act of Independence will be exhibited in the capital's House of Signatories where it was signed almost 100 years ago.

Liudas Mazylis, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University, found the Council of Lithuania's resolution proclaiming the restoration of an independent state of Lithuania with Vilnius as its capital, written by hand in Lithuanian and German and with 20 signatures on it, in the German Foreign Ministry's archive in late March.

Presided by Jonas Basanavicius, the Council of Lithuania signed the Act of Independence in Vilnius on Feb. 16, 1918. Historians believe that several original copies of the document were signed on that day, but the whereabouts of the others are unknown.

Source: BNS
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