US May Send Strong Signal To Lithuania Over Construction In Supposed Jewish Cemetery

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v4.jpgThe United States Congress may pass a strong-worded resolution over the alleged desecration of the Jewish cemetery in central Vilnius – reported HERE on YW. The document, which has already been prepared, is believed to cause estrangement in bilateral ties.

The daily newspaper Lietuvos Zinios said the draft resolution had been presented by US Congressmen Michael Ferguson and Joseph Crowley a few days ago. According to the document, the US Congress is astonished by media reports about construction continuing in the territory of historic Jewish cemetery in the Lithuanian capital.

The document cites Lithuanian and world experts as being certain that an old Jewish cemetery definitely falls in the territory of the construction.

The congressmen note that the desecration of a cemetery in the 21st century is an insult to the international Jewish community and the people of America.

The Lithuanian government is charged of violating a bilateral agreement concluded in 2002 on obligations to preserve cultural heritage of all ethnic and religious groups, including of victims of the genocide of World War II.

The document lists a dozen of various reasons, and authors ask the US Congress to forward the belief of American people to the Lithuanian government that Jewish graves should no longer be vandalized. In the opposite case, the last chapter of the resolution says that Lithuania would spoil its relations with the US and global community.

The Lithuanian government learned about the draft resolution on Wednesday. The prime minister’s adviser Vilius Kavaliauskas described the text of the document as “highly unpleasant and exaggerated in some places.”

The draft is still in discussion, and the Lithuanian Embassy to Washington D.C., in Kavaliauskas’ words, is actively working to get the text revised.

In his words, the resolution should be adopted in about a month.

Although the document does not specify threats to Lithuania, Kavaliauskas believes the resolution could have an effect on decisions of the US administration on lifting of the visa requirements for Lithuanian citizens.

Obstacles may also arise in certain fields of bilateral cooperation, he noted.

Justinas Karosas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed regret that the country’s laws do not allow fast termination of the construction of luxurious apartments despite of the strong position with regard of Jewish cemeteries stated by Lithuania.

Controversies concerning the location of the Jewish cemetery that was closed in the middle of the 19th century have been high since 2005 when the US Jewish community expressed indignation over the constructions underway in the suspected territory of a Jewish cemetery in the center of Vilnius.

The cemetery in question had been open in the center of Vilnius since the 16th century, was closed in the 19th century and dismantled in mid-20th century. Once it was closed, the Jewish community received a monetary compensation from the then administration of the Russian tsar.