PEACEFUL VIKING

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Izvestia, June 20, 2001, p. 3

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg repeated several times during his visit to Russia: “Now the opportunities for cooperation between Norway and Russia are higher than over the entire past millennium.” His Russian interlocutors agreed with him but did not close their eyes to problems in Russian-Norwegian relations.

The main result of Stoltenberg’s visit to Russia is the agreement on Vladimir Putin’s visit to Norway in 2002.

Stoltenberg made it clear that Norway does not want to keep apart of the projects of cooperation with Russia launched by Sweden. After all, Norway borders on Russia, which has both positive and negative outcomes. Among the negative outcomes are consequences of the catastrophe of the submarine Kursk, detention of a Russian fishing trawler in April, and demarcation on Spitzbergen Archipelago.

Norwegians are also worried about transportation of nuclear waste from Europe to Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov assured Stoltenberg that transportation of nuclear waste will be performed “under strict international control,” in which Norway will certainly take part.

Stoltenberg’s Russian interlocutors highlighted positive changes in Russian-Norwegian relations, but at the same time touched on some unpleasant issues, such as work of the Globus-2 radar installation by the Russian border used by the Pentagon to test elements of the national anti-missile defense system. They also touched on the issue of demarcation of the Barents Sea shelf.

Stoltenberg stressed Norway’s right to Spitzbergen, but also admitted that Russia should have the right to “mine coal and do other activities on the archipelago.” Moscow has taken this opinion into account but apparently does not fully agree with it.

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