Sweden Leads Way in Marking Baltic States' 20-Year Independence

World | August 15, 2011, Monday // 18:09|  views

The prime ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden on Monday paid tribute to 20 years of independence of the three Baltic states from the Soviet Union at a commemorative meeting in Stockholm.

The venue for the commemoration of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania's independence was the central Norrmalmstorg square in the Swedish capital - where a group of private citizens initiated a series of meetings held each Monday between March 1990 and September 1991, DPA reported.

The 79 so-called 'Monday meetings' served as an important rallying point for groups in exile and people struggling to regain independence from the then Soviet Union, the leaders said.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt reminded the crowd of Sweden's 'dark chapters,' noting how previous Swedish governments had recognized the Soviet occupation of the three neighboring states.

"We owe it to the Baltic people to remember the past and build a common future," he is quoted as saying.

The PMs of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania thanked Sweden for the support their countries received from it in 1990-1991.

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, speaking to the German Press Agency DPA, predicted that economic difficulties in Belarus would contribute to political change there and that there would soon be a need to support its transition to democracy.

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Tags: Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic states, Soviet Union, USSR, independence, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Belarus


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