Medvedev heads to Norway to discuss energy, maritime borders
Energy cooperation and the demarcation of Russian-Norwegian maritimeborders will be the key issues during talks between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Norway`s top officials on April 26-27 in Oslo, the Russian presidential aide has said.
Medvedev will travel to Norway on an invitation from King Harald V.
On Monday, the Russian president will meet with the king and his spouse, Queen Sonia, and hold talks with the president of the Norwegian parliament, Dag Terje Andersen, Sergei Prikhodko said. On Tuesday, the Russian leader is expected to discuss bilateral relations with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The agenda of the forthcoming talks includes a wide range of issues, Prikhodko said.
"Among the key issues is cooperation in the spheres of energy, fishery, environmental protection, nuclear and radiation security. Special attention in expected to be paid to the issues concerning talks on the delimitation of maritime areas in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean," he said.
The Arctic territories, believed to hold vast untapped oil and gas reserves, have increasingly been at the center of disputes between Russia and Norway, as well as the United States, Canada and Denmark as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.
Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries each have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.
Russia and Norway have been in talks on the delimitation of their maritimeborders in the disputed areas for more than 30 years. After a meeting in February, the Russian and Norwegian prime ministers described the talks as "productive", saying the resolution of the issue would boost energy cooperation between the two countries.
Prikhodko said the development of the Shtokman gas condensate deposit in the Barents Sea was the key project in the Russian-Norwegian energy cooperation. The project involves the Russian, Norwegian and French energy giants, Gazprom, Statoil and Total.
The Oslo talks will also focus on European security issues, relations between Russia and NATO, disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation issues, joint anti-terrorism efforts and measures to be taken to stop climate change, the presidential aid said.
Russia and Norway were planning to strengthen trade cooperation, Prikhodko said. As a result of the global economic recession, trade turnover between the two countries fell by 21% in 2009 if compared with 2008. However, the situation have improved as of late: in the first two months of 2010, the turnover has risen by 47%, year-on-year, the presidential aid said.
On Monday, Medvedev and Stoltenberg will also take part in a Russian-Norwegian business forum in Oslo.
A range of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during Medvedev`s talks with Stoltenberg on Tuesday.
"Among them are intergovernmental agreements in the spheres of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, ecology, education and science, and cooperation between law enforcement agencies," he said, adding the two sides were expected to issue a joint statement summing up the results of the talks.
On April 27-28, the Russian president is to pay a state visit to Denmark.