OSLO, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland, the members of the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council (BEAC), have a huge potential for cooperation in the development of the Arctic region.
“A return on our cooperation should be more effective than it is today. We are actively developing cultural ties, which is good. However, our northern regions have considerable untapped reserves for economic cooperation,” Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday as he commented on priorities of Russia’s presidency of the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council in 2015-2017.
“A lot has been said about the need to develop infrastructure cooperation. Indeed, neighboring countries should have a well-functioning infrastructure that will contribute to economic and other ties,” Titov went on to say.
The Russian diplomat emphasized that Russia would not like the Barents region to be perceived exclusively as a treasury of natural and energy resources. “It should be a region of ‘smart Europe’ with innovative technologies and developed educational cooperation. We are going to focus our efforts on these directions,” Titov noted.
Finland is going to preside over the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council in 2013-2015. The Russia-proposed project of creating a new regional mechanism for financing business, scientific and educational initiatives is going to be discussed under the Finnish presidency. A special expert group is to prepare a plan by the Council’s next ministerial session to be held in two years from now.
Titov told the foreign ministers of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland who gathered in Troms on Tuesday that the Russian president had approved the Strategy of development of the Russian Arctic zone for a period up to 2020 in February 2013. It formulated four Russian national priorities: the use of Arctic resources for the country’s socio-economic development; the preservation of the Arctic as an area of peace, stability and cooperation; the conservation of fragile Arctic ecological systems and the protection of the indigenous peoples of the North and the use of advantages of the Northern Sea Route.