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OSCE blocks Lithuania’s resolution on Belarusian nuclear power plant

During the session in Minsk the OSCE PA Standing Committee refused to put the Lithuanian resolution on the agenda of the session through a majority vote. The resolution criticizes Belarus, including the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

On 5 July 2017 the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe by a majority vote blocked the resolution of Lithuanian MPs that criticizes the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Ostrovets, reports. Eight countries voted to keep the resolution on the agenda. Twenty countries voted against it, including Sweden, Czechia, Greece, Austria, Canada, the UK. As many as 29 countries abstained from the vote.

Representatives of Lithuania told the news agency BNS that they had collected the required number of signatures, but Kent Harstedt, OSCE PA Vice President and head of the latest OSCE missions sent to monitor elections in Belarus, spoke against the document. As a result, the draft document was removed from the agenda by the OSCE PA Standing Committee, which is in charge of approving the agenda. According to Kent Harstedt, he did not support Lithuania because the suggested document failed to take into account several examples of progress in Belarus and also contained a number of false statements. Among those Kent Harstedt mentioned Minsk’s refusal to let UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus Miklos Haraszti to visit the country. “He is actually here, in the country, taking part in our event,” quoted Kent Harstedt as saying.

The draft resolution was brought in by the Lithuanian conservative MP Laurinas Kasciunas. The draft resolution claimed that the Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built 20km away from the Lithuanian border hastily and without observing proper quality and safety standards. The draft resolution also claimed that the construction site has been chosen improperly.

The European Commission shows a careful attitude to the initiative to boycott the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant taking into account possible discrepancies between the ban to import electricity and World Trade Organization rules. Brussels also doubts that the boycott would help improve nuclear safety, reports.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is built using the Russian nuclear power plant design AES-2006 18km away from Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The power plant will have two power-generating units, with each able to generate 1,200MW of electricity.