“I recently met the outgoing Lithuanian ambassador and told him: why don’t we end these harangues, why don’t we stop opposing one another […] over the nuclear plant construction. Why don’t we do it together, I mean, so we could supply you with electricity at normal, acceptable prices,” Lukashenko said in Vitebsk on Thursday, according to the state-run news agency Belta.
Lukashenko then went on to say that Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant, which is built near the Lithuanian border and just 50km from the capital Vilnius, could employ specialist from the decommissioned plant in Lithuania.
“There are many problems, so why don’t we think together how to run this plant instead of engaging in this confrontation and finger-pointing,” Lukashenko said.
He dismissed Lithuania’s concerns about the plants safety as politicking.
“If you are concerned, find in your ranks not a politician, but a group of professionals from Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and tell us that they want to pass information for entire Lithuania, Latvia or Poland – we will work with them, we don’t have any secrets,” Lukashenko said.
Responding to the Belarusian president’s statements, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has said that his country is not interested in using electricity from an unsafe plant.
“By violating essential international requirements, Belarus will not have our confidence and should not have hopes to sell electricity from an unsafe plant,” Linkevičius told BNS on Friday, adding that only if Minsk allowed an international commission to inspect the facility, could its neighbours be reassured.
He reiterated that Lithuania is naturally concerned about safety at the facility that is located dangerously close to its capital and the most populous city.
“It is a basic wish – I hope understandable to the Belarusian leader – to ensure safety of this sensitive and potentially very dangerous object,” Linkevičius said.
Lithuania is particularly concerned about public statements coming from Lukashenko that the facility must be built as quickly and as cheaply as possible, according to him, as well as reports about alleged plunder at the construction site.
“We are not talking about polite cooperation or getting cheaper electricity – we are talking about basic things relating to the facility’s safety,” Linkevičius said.