MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko Interview to RIA Novosti Regarding the Upcoming Attendance of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, at the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Northern Dimension in Oslo
Question: At the invitation of the Norwegian side, the second ministerial meeting of the renewed Northern Dimension (ND) is being held in Oslo on November 2. In the opinion of the Russian side, on what issues will attention be focused during the upcoming event?
Answer: The Northern Dimension is a joint policy of four equal partners – Russia, the EU, Iceland and Norway – which was launched at a summit held in November 2006 in Helsinki.
The ministerial meeting is scheduled to review the state of affairs in the Northern Dimension, in the ND Environmental Partnership and the ND Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing already in action and in the ND Partnerships on Transport and Logistics and on Culture which are beginning their practical activities. The ministers will also discuss the process of the formation of the Northern Dimension Institute and Business Council.
Question: What can participation in the upcoming event give to Russia?
Answer: Russia's participation in the Northern Dimension not only helps to further promote multifaceted cooperation in Northern Europe, but also facilitates the task of modernization in Russia, primarily through developing the energy efficiency project portfolio under the ND Environmental Partnership and via participation in improving European transport and logistics networks under the auspices of the relevant ND partnership. Collaboration between Russia and the EU in the Northern Dimension contributes to the realization of the goals of the Russia-EU Partnership for Modernization.
Question: What are the main topics to be discussed in the conversation between the Foreign Ministers of Russia and Norway?
Answer: On the sidelines of the second ministerial meeting of the Northern Dimension, Sergey Lavrov will have a conversation with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store on November 1.
It is presumed that they will substantively examine the nodal practical issues of Russian-Norwegian relations and cooperation from the viewpoint of the implementation of the agreements reached by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on April 27 this year in Oslo, and on September 15 in Murmansk.
They will discuss the themes of deepening the political dialogue and promoting economic and trade collaboration, particularly in the context of the partnership for modernization, and cooperation in energy, fisheries, environmental protection, nuclear and radiation safety, and the problems of the Russian presence on the Spitsbergen Archipelago.
Particular attention will be paid to the bilateral cooperation in the Russian-Norwegian border zone and in the North as a whole.
Russia and Norway are endeavoring to create the best conditions for cross-border cooperation. An important specific measure in this regard is the forthcoming signing in Oslo of an intergovernmental Agreement on the facilitation of mutual travel for residents of the border territories of Russia and Norway.
The Joint Statement to be signed by the ministers on strengthening cross-border cooperation is intended to give a comprehensive and systematic character to joint work in this sphere and will be the basis for further concrete steps.
Question: What issues are included in the regional and international clusters of the talks' agenda?
Answer: In the regional and international clusters it is borne in mind to discuss the subject of cooperation with Norway in the North and the Arctic – within the framework of the Arctic Council and other regional formats – to exchange views on European security, Russia-NATO relations, including the preparations for the RNC summit in Lisbon, the development of a new strategic concept of NATO, OSCE issues and preparation of the upcoming summit of the Organization in Astana, as well as a number of regional issues including the Middle East peace process, the situation in Afghanistan and Sudan.
Question: What is the agenda of the forthcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia and Iceland?
Answer: Sergey Lavrov will hold a conversation with Iceland's Foreign Minister, Ossur Skarphedinsson, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Northern Dimension on November 2.
They are expected to discuss a wide range of Russian-Icelandic relations, including questions of the implementation of the accords reached at the meetings of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson on September 22-23, 2010, on deepening the cooperation with Reykjavik in modernization and innovation with emphasis on priority areas – geothermal energy and energy efficiency.
Questions of cooperation in the Arctic and some international issues will also be considered.