28 October 2020, Wednesday, 17:21
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Lithuania's Ex-MFA: Lifting Sanctions Off Belarusian Regime Was A Mistake

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Lithuania's Ex-MFA: Lifting Sanctions Off Belarusian Regime Was A Mistake
AUDRONIUS AŽUBALIS

Vilnius still has a mechanism to stop the Belarusian NPP.

Lithuanian MP, ex-Foreign Minister of Lithuania Audronius Ažubalis said during the first congress of the Movement Against the Astravets NPP that lifting of sanctions against a number of Belarusian officials, and Aliaksandr Lukashenka in 2016 was a mistake, the Charter97.org correspondent in Vilnius reports.

"The Astravets NPP is an unsafe project in an unsafe place. What to do? Lithuania has had many trump cards on hand for 8-10 years. The decision of 2016 was deplorable, when, among other things, Lithuanian politicians actively campaigned for lifting economic sanctions from the Belarusian regime. Then, because of its own problems, Russia could not sufficiently finance this regime," said Ažubalis.

The politician added that Lithuania still has a mechanism to stop this unsafe project.

"You need to understand that there are always extreme measures, if you like, the "last shot" that Lithuania has not yet used. Therefore, the petition, under which they are now collecting signatures, is very important, it plays into the hands of our politicians, especially the president. Because only the president in the Council of Europe can say no to any question, and this question will be stopped. This is the last means that the state can use when it sees that its national interests are being threatened. Lithuania used this mechanism in 2006, when President Valdas Adamkus blocked the mandate for negotiations with Russia. The terms of the negotiations have been changed. Therefore, one cannot say now that it is too late to oppose the Astravets NPP. We can still use mechanisms that have not yet been applied," added Ažubalis.

At the congress, the text of the petition addressed to the European Parliament was approved. The movement against the Astravets NPP puts forward five basic requirements:

• adopt a resolution that serious violations were committed at the Belarusian nuclear power plant during the construction of the first reactor, the main one being site selection. The IAEA recommends not building nuclear power plants within a radius of 100 km from large settlements, while the Astravets NPP is being built 45 km away from Vilnius and 20 km away from the Lithuanian border;

• urge the Belarusian nuclear regulators not to issue a license to operate the nuclear power plant in the unsafe place. If the authorities of Belarus and Rostatom still decide to continue the construction of the second, third and fourth reactors, the EU should demand their relocation, as well as the closure or relocation of the first reactor.

• call on the European Commission and the European Council to express full solidarity with Lithuania that the Astravets NPP threatens national security, and enact laws prohibiting the import of electricity from this station. In Lithuania, the corresponding law was adopted in 2017.

• encourage the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the EU countries and the strategic partners of the EU to consider sanctions against Rosatom and other companies responsible for the construction of the Astravets NPP.

• speed up the process of synchronizing the electricity networks of the Baltic countries with continental Europe until 2025, in order to reduce the dependence of the Baltic countries on Russian energy sources.