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Minsk disappointed by decision of Espoo Convention meeting in Geneva

Politics 07.02.2019 | 15:18
An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 7 February (BelTA) – Minsk is deeply disappointed by the decision made by the Geneva meeting of the parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention). The decision claims that Belarus has allegedly failed to provide “sufficient” information to the public to justify the choice of the Ostrovets site as the location for building the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Minsk's disappointment has been expressed by the Information and Digital Diplomacy Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, BelTA has learned.

The statement reads: “The relevant committee didn't even bother to explain how insufficient Belarusian information was. Maybe because neither the Espoo Convention nor the operating procedures of the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee contains sufficiency criteria. In violations of the committee's standard operating procedures Belarus has been denied an opportunity to officially respond to the unwarranted accusations. We've made a note of the fact that the anti-Belarusian decision had been made upon the initiative of the European Union delegation in order to please Lithuania. It is obvious that the outcome of the voting had been predetermined by the ‘bloc discipline' of the European Union countries, which represent the majority of Espoo Convention members.”

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out that while taking its cues from Lithuania the European Union failed to notice that for nearly eight years the Belarusian government has been vigorously cooperating with the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee in order to investigate the Lithuanian complaint. “Acting in good spirit, we've repeatedly initiated a dialogue about the matter with Lithuania, which resorted to all kinds of pretexts to avoid constructive cooperation,” the source added.

“On the contrary, opposition to the Belarusian nuclear power plant project has become an obsession in the Lithuanian political environment. After destroying its own nuclear energy industry and turning down Belarusian proposals to build a nuclear power plant together, Lithuanian politicians seem to have no other choice but to shift their responsibility to voters to a blameless party,” the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed.

BelTA has been told that the decision made by the Geneva Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention has nothing to do with the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “These matters lie outside the scope of this convention. By trying to make these matters part of the discussion, Lithuania intentionally misinforms everyone,” representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

The source also noted that this example of manipulation of the Espoo Convention represents an obvious and alarming testimony of the degradation of the international law system. The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the international community to persistently resist such practices.

“In conclusion we would like to make it clear that the development of a peaceful nuclear program is the sovereign right of an independent nation. We'll draw conclusions from actions of the parties to the Espoo Convention and will take them into account as we build our relations in the future,” the statement reads.

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