News2020.01.20 15:00

Causing panic over Belarusian nuclear plant could hurt Lithuanian economy – FM Linkevičius

BNS 2020.01.20 15:00

Raising panic over the Astravyets nuclear plant might undermine foreign investments in Lithuania, Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said on Friday.

Lithuania failed to stop the construction of the Astravyers facility and now needs to put every effort to ensure the power plant's safety before its launch, he said.

"All of that work needs to be done consistently, professionally and in a targeted manner, without escalating tensions, rocking the boat and causing panic, preferably," the minister told reporters.

Read more: Political discussions failed to rally Lithuanian neighbours against Belarusian nuclear plant

"It would be wrong to create an image of our country as some zone of instability, as it might also hurt investments," he said.

Linkevičius also called on Lithuanian politicians and public figures "to do what's possible".

"The construction site [for the power plant] was prepared in 2008 and they started building in 2009. The first reactor [was built] in 2020. So let's do everything that's possible, working with regional partners, international organisations, the European Commission, and especially with Belarus," the Lithuanian foreign minister said.

His comments reflect a recent change in rhetoric over the Astravyets nuclear power plant due to be launched later this year. Lithuanian officials previously said the plant should not be built, but the focus is shifting towards ensuring its safety.

Since early 2016, Lithuania has also been tryingto convince other EU states to join its embargo of electricity produced in Astravyets. However, not even the other Baltic states would join Lithuania's position.

Experts say electricity from Astravyets could theoretically enter the common market via Russia and Latvia.

Read more: Sidestepping Lithuania, Belarus to hold talks on electricity trade with Latvia

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