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Lithuania: President Says He Will Not Step Down

Vilnius, 6 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas (pictured) said today he will not resign despite a pending impeachment process against him. A secret report in October linked some of Paksas's aides to members of Russian organized criminal groups and intelligence bodies.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas has said Paksas should step down and avoid putting himself and the country through what Brazauskas predicted would be a lengthy impeachment process.

Paksas said in remarks published in today's edition of the newspaper "Respublika" that he is prepared to endure the impeachment process.

Paksas said a legal evaluation will clear him of the accusations made in the report.

In Vilnius, a crowd of several thousands rallied today in support of Paksas. A similar number of people held two rallies last week demanding Paksas' resignation.