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We grasp Lithuania's concerns about Astravyets, don't plan embargo laws - Latvian minister

BC, Riga, 16.01.2017.Print version
The Latvian government supports the Lithuanian position to demand the highest security standards at the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus, however, does not consider any laws to restrict electricity imports from the utility, says LETA/BNS Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

In an interview after the Snow Meeting of security policy experts in the Trakai district, Rinkevics said he was constantly raising security matters in meetings with officials of Belarus and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, added he considered the Astravyets nuclear plant an issue of Lithuania's domestic policy he was not willing to interfere with.


In the minister's words, decisions on synchronization of Baltic electricity grids with Western Europe should first be made by experts, not politicians, as experience shows that early interference of politicians may hinder implementation of regional projects.


Lithuania is now considering a draft law with attempt to close the Belarusian nuclear power plant. When asked whether there were differences between the Lithuanian and Latvian positions in the matter, Rinkevics answered: "I wouldn't necessarily describe this as a difference. We have been supporting the Lithuanian position and concerns over environmental issues, safety standards, and I've been talking about those issues with my Belarusian counterpart foreign minister. I've been also raising this with director general of International Atomic Energy Agency."


"However, our position is that we have to engage as much as possible with Belarusians. We are not as far going as considering any kind of legislation, but we do think that issues related to safety standards, to environmental standards should be held up to the highest standards," he said.


Answering the question about the position of the Latvian government regarding plans to synchronize power grids with the European system, Rinkevics said: "This is an issue that our prime ministers discussed during Lithuanian prime minister's first visit in Riga. I think that we are in the major agreement that we have to work on synchronization with European electricity markets and we have left it to the experts and to the ministers of energy - in our case minister of economy - to work out a viable plan. I'm very happy to see how already Swedish-Lithuanian interconnection is working, our integration to the Nordic electricity market is a success story. We are also talking with our Polish friends, with the European Commission."


In response to question whether Latvia wanted the synchronization to go through Poland or through Nordic countries, the Latvian foreign minister said that the best way should be found through a discussion between experts.


"Unfortunately, past experiences have shown that the more politicians are taking sides before there is a sound advice from experts, or at least good options prepared, the worse at the end of the day we all are. So, I would say, we are open to the discussion, to the proposals, but I wouldn't say that at this time it would be appropriate to make a kind of a final judgment because we still need to be engaged with the European Commission, with our own trilateral experts and we have to simply get a full picture before governments make final decisions. But I would like to avoid the kind of mistakes of the past when after long talking, after mutual accusations from time to time we end up with frankly nothing. And we have that kind of experience."






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