Petras Vaida, BC, Vilnius,
Lithuania's Foreign Ministry has submitted a note to Belarus over the latter's intentions to build a nuclear power plant in Astravets district of Belarusian Grodno region, 50 kilometres away from Vilnius.
The diplomatic note says that the plant's environmental impact assessment (EIA) has not been completed yet and that it has not been coordinated with Lithuania. In Lithuania's opinion, the international EIA of the Belarusian plant was not finished because Belarus did not carry out the EIA in accordance with the international law, held no public debate on the project in Lithuania and bilateral consultations, as required by the Espoo Convention (Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context – ELTA). The convention provides that final decisions of the construction site must be made and the works started only after having harmonized EIA documents with neighbouring countries. Belarus submitted a complemented EIA report only in mid-February, 2011, while Lithuania's official position regarding the Belarus nuclear power plant EIA documentation was presented on 7 May 2010, informs LETA/ELTA.
Lithuania has repeatedly asked the Republic of Belarus to comply with international conventions and to answer any questions concerning the nuclear power plant project in Belarus, organise appropriate public hearings in Lithuania and Lithuanian-Belarus bilateral consultations.
Ambassador of Belarus to Lithuania Vladimir Drazhin declined to comment on the recent developments after a meeting with Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Evaldas Ignatavicius. According to him, the note will be handed in to the Belarusian foreign ministry as soon as this Monday. It will be analysed by the relevant authorities before Minsk voices its position on the matter.
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