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26 Apr 2017

Lukashenko: Belarus, Ukraine need to step up cooperation on Chernobyl-related issues

CHERNOBYL, 26 April (BelTA) – Belarus and Ukraine need to step up cooperating on Chernobyl-related issues, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko told reporters after the visit to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, BelTA has learned.

“Both Belarusians and Ukrainians realize that the Chernobyl catastrophe has no borders. Our states are trying to overcome this disaster together. We have implemented a number of joint measures in monitoring and radiation control, agriculture and the forestry industry, coordination of scientific and information work. We successfully cooperate within the framework of Chernobyl projects of international organizations,” the president of Belarus said. “However, the potential of cooperation between Belarus and Ukraine is not used in full. I am convinced that our scientists, doctors, ecologists, all people working for the mitigation of the Chernobyl consequences in Belarus and Ukraine, protection of people’s health in Chernobyl-affected territories can do much more.”

Alexander Lukashenko remarked that Ukraine is now working out a new strategy of mitigating the consequences of the accident, plans to create a radiation ecology biosphere reserve in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. “You can count on our joint work and use the experience of the Polesye reserve,” the Belarusian leader assured.

According to the head of state, the efforts to mitigate the consequences of the accident have given a strong impetus to the application of innovative methods in Belarus’ agribusiness and forestry industry. “We have learned to live and work on those territories although some time ago it seemed that it would be impossible to bring them back to life. We are ready to share our knowledge in this field with Ukraine,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“In 2016, by joint efforts we managed to continue international Chernobyl cooperation under the aegis of the United Nations. The interest of the global community in our bitter and, at the same time, unique experience of mitigating medical, ecological, social, economic consequences of the catastrophe is very high,” the Belarusian head of state emphasized.

Alexander Lukashenko also remarked that the attempts to make people forget about the Chernobyl accident were made in the past and are still made. “The international community has allegedly done everything to put this territory in order. Some people in our countries also started to forget about the danger,” the president said.

He added that the sides have done their best at the main international platform, the United Nations, to prove to the whole world that the danger still exists and it is needed to fight till all the consequences are finally mitigated.

“It is also needed to use our experience in joint projects to restore affected territories. This can be done with the assistance of the UN and partners,” Alexander Lukashenko assured.

The president of Belarus added that the states allocate huge funds for the mitigation of the consequences of the biggest man-made disaster. This figure now exceeds $25 billion for the Belarusian budget. “Thinking about the security of future generations, we allocate funds for protection measures at the local level, invest in human resources, science, modern technologies, and manufacturing,” the Belarusian leader said.

The presidents of Belarus and Ukraine visited the Chernobyl nuclear power plant where they inspected the construction site of the future protective shelter and the storage of nuclear wastes, honored the memory of Chernobyl clean-up workers and victims of the accident. The heads of state paid special attention to the efforts to ensure a decent level of radiation safety which is especially important for the residents of the two countries.

The heads of state were informed about the unique technology which was used to erect the new shelter and about the future plans to ensure the facility’s safety.

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