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6 Feb 2019

Belarus urges to prevent political manipulation of Espoo Convention instruments

Belarus urges to prevent political manipulation of Espoo Convention instruments
Photo courtesy of the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office at the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MINSK, 6 February (BelTA) – A Belarusian delegation  led by Iya Malkina, First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, is attending the Intermediary Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) running in Geneva on 5-7 February, BelTA learned form the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

The Meeting of the Parties is set to consider the draft decisions related to the compliance by the Parties with the Espoo Convention. “In view of the consideration by the Meeting of the Parties of Lithuania’s complaint regarding the procedure for the implementation of the Belarusian NPP project in Ostrovets, the Belarusian delegation stressed that the nuclear power plant is being built and will start generating first electricity in strict accordance with the national legislation and international obligations of Belarus. The delegation pointed out the inadmissibility of political manipulation of the instruments of the Convention, which ultimately leads to a breakdown of its integrity and international credibility. The Lithuanian side was once again offered a set of possible joint steps and actions that would enable Vilnius to refrain from the practice of complaining to the international organizations and to resume a direct dialogue with Belarus,” the Ministry of foreign Affairs said.

The Belarusian delegation briefed the participants of the meeting on the measures undertaken to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant which is under construction in Ostrovets, including the steps made by the Belarusian government jointly with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the results of the work of the IAEA assessment missions in Belarus and on cooperation with the European Union.

The Belarusian delegation includes Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk, Permanent Representative of Belarus in Geneva Yuri Ambrazevich, and also representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, the Energy Ministry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Emergencies Ministry and the Permanent Mission of Belarus in Geneva.

The Espoo Convention sets out the obligations of Parties to assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also lays down the general obligation of States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across boundaries. The Convention entered into force on 10 September 1997.

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