2020.04.27 15:30

Vilnius to keep blocking Belarus-EU deal over nuclear project

BNS 2020.04.27 15:30

“All measures,” including the veto on Belarus-EU partnership agreement, are being taken by Lithuania to ensure the safety of the Astravyets nuclear plant, according to the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

The Belarusian nuclear plant under construction some 50 kilometres from Vilnius is considered unsafe by the Lithuanian authorities. Minsk rejects all criticism.

Read more: Lithuania hopes to sign ban on Belarus’ nuclear energy with other Baltic states

Nausėda on Thursday became the first Lithuanian president to speak directly with the long-time authoritarian Belarusian leader in ten years.

Asked whether Lithuania's veto on the EU-Belarusian partnership agreement was discussed, Nausėda hinted that this issue was related specifically to the Astravyets NPP.

"It's very simple regarding partnership, and it was clearly stated yesterday – [Lithuania] really views the Astravyets nuclear power plant as a threat in terms of environmental and national security," said Nausėda.

"All measures must be taken for the stress tests and recommendations [...] to be implemented before the [...] plant is launched," the Lithuanian president said.

The Belarusian leader assured that his country "will not rush this process artificially at the expense of security," according to Nausėda, as Minsk is also interested in the safety of Belarusian citizens following the Chernobyl disaster.

The Lithuanian president said he asked Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko whether the issue of Astravyets' nuclear plant would become an obtacle in bilateral relations.

"His response was clear: no, it will not become an obstacle and that we can discuss all issues where we can find agreement," Nausėda told journalists on Friday.

Read more: Lithuanians stage mock evacuations to train for nuclear accident – photos