Comment by the Department of Information and Digital Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus07 February 2019
We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Geneva Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention that the Belarusian side allegedly did not provide the public with “sufficient” information in support of the justification of the selection of the Ostrovets site for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.
The relevant Committee did not even bother to explain what information gaps the Belarusian side failed to cover. Probably because the criterion of sufficiency is not in the Convention itself, nor in the documents defining the rules for the work of the Committee on its application. At the same time, in violation of the working procedures of the Committee, Belarus was deprived of the opportunity to officially comment on unfounded claims to it.
We took into account that the anti-Belarusian decision of the Meeting was taken on the initiative of the delegation of the European Union in favor of Lithuania. It is obvious that the result of the vote was predetermined by the “bloc discipline” of the EU countries, which constitute the majority of the members of the Convention.
Following the will of the official Vilnius, the EU “did not notice” that for almost eight years the Government of Belarus actively cooperated with the Committee on the implementation of the provisions of the Espoo Convention in the framework of the Lithuanian complaint.
Acting in good faith, we repeatedly initiated a dialogue on this topic with Lithuania, which under any pretext avoided constructive interaction. On the contrary, the issue of opposition to the Belarusian NPP project has become an obsessive idea in the Lithuanian political environment.
Having destroyed their own nuclear power industry and abandoned the Belarusian proposals to build NPP jointly, Lithuanian politicians obviously have no choice but to try to shift the burden of responsibility to voters from a sore head to a healthy one.
The decision adopted at the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention has no links whatsoever with the security of the Belarusian NPP. This issue is beyond the Conventions’ mandate. Linking these questions, the Lithuanian side deliberately misleads everyone.
The example of the manipulation of the Espoo Convention is a clear and disturbing evidence of the degradation of a universal system of the international law. We urge the international community to counter this practice in a consistent manner.
In conclusion, we emphasize that the development of a peaceful nuclear programme is a sovereign right of an independent state.
We will draw conclusions from the actions of the parties to the Espoo Convention and will consider them when forming our relations in the future.
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