Rune Rafaelsen says to UPI that he believes an agreement on the Barents Sea border dispute will be announced when President Dmitri Medvedev is in Oslo later this month. Rafaelsen is the head of the secretariat working with the Norwegian-Russian regional people-to-people cooperation in the north.
Talking to UPI, Rafaelsen explains the reason why he thinks an agreement about the disputed area in the Barents Sea will be signed following Medvedev’s official state visit to Norway on April 26th; - Why would Medvedev spend two days in Norway if there was nothing new to announce? Also, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin two weeks ago in Helsinki in talks that hadn’t been planned. Those are indications that we might have an agreement, Rafaelsen says.
The disputed area covers an area of 173,000 square kilometers. In the near 40 year long negotiations between the two countries, the Norwegians are favoring the Median line and Russians are favoring a meridian based sector. The area is believed to hold large amounts of oil and gas.
In January this year BarentsObserver reported about a statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a speech on the key notes in Russian foreign politics: - We are in a process of negotiation which should not be called a regulation of a dispute. - We are in a process on delimitation of the Barents Sea, and this process is advancing, Lavrov said.