VILNIUS – Lithuania's critical position on the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus remains unchanged but the two countries will cooperate on other matters, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda says.
He said he was assured by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their phone conversation on Thursday that the Astravyets problem would not become an obstacle in their bilateral relations.
"I asked the Belarusian president openly, stating that our position on the Astravyets nuclear power plant and the decision not to buy its electricity remains unchanged, whether this aspect would not become an obstacle for cooperating and discussing all other issues. And his response was clear: no, it will not become an obstacle and that we can discuss all issues where we can find agreement," Nauseda told journalists on Friday.
Asked whether Lithuania's veto on the EU-Belarusian partnership agreement was discussed, Nauseda hinted that this issue is related specifically to the Astravyets NPP.
"It's very simple regarding partnership, and it was clearly stated yesterday: we (Lithuania – BNS) really view the Astravyet nuclear power plant as a threat in terms of environmental and national security. All measures must be taken for the stress tests and recommendations based on them to be implemented before the Astravyets nuclear power plant is launched," the Lithuanian president said.
In his words, the Belarusian leader assured that his country "will not rush this process artificially at the expense of security" as it is also interested in the safety of Belarusian citizens following the Chernobyl disaster.
Lithuania's position is that the Belarusian nuclear facility is being construction unsafely and in violation of international commitments, which Minsk denies.