Latvia won't block Astravyets electricity, as it wants freight - ForMin Linkevičius

Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction

After Latvia's foreign minister restated the country's plans not to block electricity generated by the Astravyets nuclear power plant (NPP), Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius does not rule out the move is due to economic reasons.

"This probably has to do with economic cooperation, my guess is that it also has to do with the use of their port (in Ventspils), which is understandable, however, there are still matters of principle that should be more expressed. Especially since the object is not just an object and this goes beyond bilateral problems, as nuclear objects cannot be regarded in the context of bilateral relations, as the context is much broader – not just a regional but also of the European Union," Linkevičius told BNS.

In his words, aim to attract Belarusian cargo to its Ventspils port is one of the main reasons behind Latvia's refusal to boycott Belarusian energy.

"The most flagrant example – the (Lithuanian) port of Klaipėda, which is closest to Belarus and most liked by them, exports without Klaipėda is hard to imagine. However, there is also the Ventspils port. My presumption is that they want more cooperation. There may be more reasons," the minister said.

Nevertheless, in his words, the Latvian position could change, if other countries of the region decided to join the Lithuanian boycott of the Belarusian electricity.

On the eve of his visit to Belarus, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevičs told the Belarusian portal tut.by that the boycott issue was not considered in Latvia. In his words, Latvia understands Lithuanian concerns but speaks to Belarus directly over the power plant and raises the issue of ensuring security standards.

Last month, Lithuania's parliament passed a law that listed the Astravyets utility as unsafe and a threat to Lithuania's national security, environment and public health in an effort to validate restrictions of electricity imports.

Minsk has dismissed the criticism as ungrounded.

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