Stink over pig-headed border squabble
A round of tit-for-tat diplomacy on the fringes of the EU looks set to leave the Belarus-Lithuania border an environmental disaster area.
Lithuania has plans to build a dump for nuclear waste from its Ignalina nuclear power station less than a kilometre from the border with its neighbour.
The decision has understandably put noses out of joint in the Belarussian capital Minsk, which complains that the dump will impact on its Braslavsky lakes national park, haven for Birdlife as well as a major tourist attraction.
Bureaucrats and politicians have put together a diplomatic package unlikely to reduce tensions between the two countries.
In apparent response to the Lithuanian plans, Belarus has announced it will build two colossal, and doubtless smelly, pig farms on its side of the border which will become home to some quarter of a million porkers.
One of the farms will be on the banks of the Neman river which flows directly into Lithuania and waste from the pigs is likely to be carried downstream past popular spa town Druskininkai.
Lithuania’s prime minister, Algirdas Brazauskas, is bullish about the pig plans, warning of sanctions against Belarus and saying in a radio interview this week: “Construction of a pig complex in the Neman river basin would be a barbarous act.”
By Sam Bond
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