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2019.12.17 16:48

Lithuanian president calls on Baltic leaders to embargo Belarusian energy

BNS 2019.12.17 16:48

During a visit to Riga, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has once again urged Latvia and Estonia not to buy electricity from the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus.

“I have informed [Latvian and Estonian leaders] about Lithuania's decision to impose an embargo on [Belarusian] electricity and invited Latvia and Estonia to join Vilnius,” Nausėda told a joint press conference with the Latvian and Estonian counterparts.

Lithuania has been trying to convince EU member states to join its embargo of Belarusian electricity since early 2016, but other Baltic states have not made the step yet. Experts say that electricity produced in Astravyets theoretically might enter the common market via Russia and Latvia.

According to Nausėda, ensuring that the Astravyets nuclear facility is safe is a challenge not only for Lithuania, but also for the EU as a whole.

The Lithuanian president also emphasised that stress test recommendations for the nuclear facility must be implemented before it started operating and that ensuring safety was in the interest of Belarus itself.

“In essence, all the presidents have agreed that there can be no unsafe nuclear power plants in the EU's vicinity and that electricity has to be produced with safe technology and regard for requirements of international organisations,” Nausėda said.

The Belarusian authorities say the power plant could start operating in the first quarter of 2020 and they reject Lithuania's criticism over safety standards.

During their Tuesday meeting, the Baltic presidents also discussed joint infrastructure projects and EU and NATO issues.