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Stoltenberg, Medvedev get ready for Barents

Meeting in St. Petersburg, the two Prime Ministers agree to encourage business cooperation in the new Kirkenes-declaration to be signed at the Barents top-meeting in June.

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The Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met with Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev on Friday preparing the 20-years anniversary of the Barents cooperation to take place in Kirkenes on June 4. 

“We talked about the Barents Anniversary in Kirkenes in June. There, the member states will mark the 20th anniversary of the Barents Region Cooperation and sign a new Kirkenes Declaration. The 1993 Declaration has contributed to increased confidence and cooperation between participant states and their regions up north. The new declaration will take this further, with a particular emphasis on promoting business cooperation”, Stoltenberg said after the bi-lateral talks with Dmitri Medvedev. 

In June, the Prime Ministers of Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway will meet to outline the future Barents cooperation, Europe’s northernmost regional cross-border structure.

Signed in 1993, the first Kirkenes-declaration outlined how to boost people-to-people contacts, democratic reforms and business across formerly closed borders in the north. The text of the new declaration is not yet ready, but after Friday’s meeting in St. Petersburg, the Russian and Norwegian Prime Ministers says the agree to place emphasis on business cooperation.

In the meeting with Medvedev, Stoltenberg also brought up restrictions towards the civil society in Russia.

“I expressed my concern at the restrictions that recently have been imposed on the civil society in Russia. We see that such legal changes have already had their impact on the cooperation between Norwegian and Russian voluntary organisations”, said Stoltenberg.