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Lithuania's Public Safety Service to guard Feb 16 Independence Act

VILNIUS – Officers of the Public Safety Service will guard the 1918 Independence Act to be handed over to Lithuania by Germany for exhibiting at the House of Signatories on a temporary basis.

The Lithuanian Interior Ministry has drafted a resolution to include the House of Signatories into the list of key objects guarded by the state during the display of the Independence Act.

Main functions of the Public Safety Service includes protection of airports, power plants, the liquefied natural gas terminal and similar sites.

The handwritten Act of Independence of Feb. 16, 1918 in the Lithuanian and the German languages with signatures of 20 signatories will be delivered to Lithuania from Germany on Jan. 17 after being discovered in the Berlin diplomatic archives by Liudas Mazylis, professor of the Vytautas Magnus University, last March.

A ceremony will take place at the President's Office to hand over the document for temporary display, followed by delivery to the House of Signatories a few days later. At the house, it will be placed in a special bullet-proof glass casing with adjustable moisture and tempe rature.

Lithuania will have the Independence Act for up to five years, as stipulated in an agreement signed between Lithuania and Germany in October.

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.

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