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Opinions & Interviews

15 Mar 2016

Malkina: Belarus is ready for cooperation with Lithuania on nuclear security issues

Malkina: Belarus is ready for cooperation with Lithuania on nuclear security issues

MINSK, 15 March (BelTA) – Belarus is ready for regular good-neighborly cooperation with Lithuania on nuclear security issues, BelTA learnt from Belarus’ First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Protection Iya Malkina who is attending the 35th session of the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee in Geneva.

“Belarus is ready for regular good-neighborly and bona fide cooperation with Lithuania on the nuclear security issues. We have already invited the Lithuanian side and members of the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee to Ostrovets to receive all necessary information on any technical issues. We expect the corresponding constructive approaches from Vilnius,” she stressed.

According to Iya Malkina, no new questions were voiced during the speech of the Lithuanian delegation. “These were the arguments we have repeatedly heard for the last five years. Unfortunately, the Lithuanian delegation was not ready for a constructive technical discussion of the project. We hope that in addressing out disputable matters there will be less politics and more constructivism as well as positive practices for further fruitful cooperation,” she said.

Speaking about the invitation of Lithuanian representatives to Ostrovets, the First Deputy Minister said that Belarus has not received any answer in response from the delegation of the neighboring country. “We think we have caught Lithuania flatfooted. They were not ready for such an open dialogue, especially under the aegis of the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee,” noted Iya Malkina.

The 35th session of the Implementation Committee of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) is running in Geneva, Switzerland on 15-17 March. The Implementation Committee invited Belarus and Lithuania to attend the meeting on the first day. The Belarusian delegation will be led by First Deputy Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Minister Iya Malkina. The delegation also includes Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) expects the signatories to notify and consult each other about all the major projects that can have a considerable negative transboundary impact on the environment. Belarus signed the Convention on 8 February 2006.

BelTA reported earlier that in June 2011 Lithuania contacted the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee complaining about Belarus’ failure to observe the Convention while planning the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. After looking into the matter the Committee and later on the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention gave recommendations both to Belarus and Lithuania on ways to ensure the fulfillment of the Convention with regard to the Belarusian nuclear power plant project. The recommendations also encouraged the two countries to work together.

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