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13 Sep 2016

Belarus hopes to sign final report following NPP consultations with Lithuania

MINSK, 13 September (BelTA) – Belarus hopes to sign a final report as a result of the bilateral consultations on technical and scientific aspects of the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) with Lithuanian specialists, Belarusian First Deputy Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Iya Malkina said at the opening of the second round of consultations in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

“I would like to draw attention to the latest recommendations adopted by Implementation Committee (Espoo Convention). In line with the recommendations, Belarus and Lithuania should present a joint report following the consultations by 1 November 2016. The Belarusian side provides the necessary technical and human resources to ensure that the second round of the consultations concludes with the signing of the final document,” Iya Malkina noted.

She explained that the document will prevent further misunderstandings between the sides and misinterpretation of the information available today. “Once the Belarusian and Lithuanian experts finish discussing an item on the agenda, we invite them to visit a special room fitted with the necessary equipment to record the reached agreements and disputable issues,” Iya Malkina explained.

The First Deputy Minister pointed out that the Belarusian side put forward the idea to draft a joint report in June 2016, during the first round of consultations in Vilnius. “Unfortunately, back then we did not reach a consensus and did not sign a final document,” she said.

Iya Malkina emphasized that she expects the Lithuanian experts to ask questions based on specific provisions of international agreements and technical grounds, rather than on their subjective assessment. “As usual, we are open to constructive criticism that can improve our project. Still, we would like to stress once again that any attempts to promote someone’s economic and political interests under the pretext of securing environmental and radiation safety are inadmissible in the good-neighborly relations between our countries. The Belarusian side hopes that today the Lithuanian authorities will finally hear Belarus and agree to resolve the misunderstandings that exist for more than five years,” Iya Malkina said.

On 13 and 14 September, Minsk is hosting the bilateral consultations of Belarusian and Lithuanian experts on technical and scientific aspects of the BelNPP construction project. The consultations continue the bilateral dialogue started in June 2016. The experts have gathered to discuss a number of issues, including the BelNPP project, monitoring of radiation safety that includes drafting of relevant laws in Belarus, organization of environmental monitoring, and other aspects.

On behalf of Belarus, partaking in the consultations are representatives of the Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, the Energy Ministry, the Healthcare Ministry, the Emergencies Ministry and other state bodies and organizations.

The first round of consultations took place in Vilnius on 21 and 22 June 2016. Belarus commented in detail on a number of questions. Specifically, the Lithuanian experts asked about the criteria for choosing the BelNPP site, the results of assessment of the seismic safety of the Ostrovets construction site and alternative sites, and methods used in evaluating the environmental impact in transboundary context.

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