MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Experts of Mongolia and Russia will hold the first meeting in June to discuss construction of a chain of hydropower plants (HPP) on the Selenga river and its feeders, Mongolia’s Ambassador to Banzragchiin Delgermaa told TASS on Monday.
"A mutual decision was made according to results of the intergovernmental commission meeting [in December 2016 - TASS] that we will exchange information in the first instance," the diplomat said. "Mongolia has a conclusion of a French expert company that also built HPP in Russia regarding two our projects. According to their conclusion, construction of the HPP will not actually exert negative influence on environment. However, Russia has its conclusion and its studies," the ambassador said.
"It was decided to set up a joint research team with scientists and experts of both sides," Delgermaa said. "We suggested holding the meeting with participation of Russian and Mongolian experts in March but the Russian party made a proposal to postpone such a meeting until June," she said.
The Baikal Lake is unique, the ambassador said. "This is not merely the Russian but also the global treasury. Therefore we will undertake measures to prevent environmental problems and will jointly settle arising issues," the diplomat added.
Russian environmental and scientific circles have repeatedly expressed their concerns about Mongolia’s plans to build three dams at rivers that feed Lake Baikal, the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Under the plan, three dams are to be built: one at the Selenga River, that accounts for some 80% of all water that flows into the lake, and two at its main tributaries - the Eg River and the Orkhon River.
The announcement coincided with the unprecedented decline in the Baikal water level that started in fall of 2014 and continued through 2016.