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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 24.07.2019, 07:51

Espoo: Belarus picked site for Astravyets NPP in violation of convention

BC, Vilnius, 07.02.2019.Print version
Espoo Convention countries concluded on Thursday that the construction site for the Astravyets nuclear power plant near the Lithuanian border was chosen in violation of the Espoo Convention, Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas, who led the Lithuanian delegation in Geneva, told LETA/BNS.

He called the decision historic and demonstrating that Lithuania filed a legitimate complaint.

"The decision is maximally favorable to Lithuania. Today, convention countries' agreement confirmed the conclusion that by building the Astravyets nuclear power plant, Belarus violated international agreements and specifically the Espoo Convention, and violated three articles of this convention. So, this is the final decision," Vaiciunas told on the phone from Geneva.

In his words, the decision in fact means that all the companies building the nuclear plant are taking part in a project violating international agreements.

"First of all, the decision is important because it states the violation, and the procedure is in fact finished in this format. But we, Lithuania and EU member states, will be able to use the result of this decision in all other formats," Vaiciunas said.

30 out of 36 countries voted in favor of the conclusions favorable to Lithuania, the minister noted, with all EU member states unanimously voting in favor.

Lithuania submitted a complaint over convention violations during the implementation of the Astravyets environment impact assessment back in 2011 after Belarus failed to provide answers to submitted key questions.

Lithuania has been one of the most vocal critics of the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus just 50 km away from Vilnius and says the facility is being built unsafely and in violation of international requirements, which Minsk denies.

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