In the Norwegian Finnmark expressed the desire to have good relations with Russia

KIRKENES (Norway), 21 Feb – RIA Novosti. Chairman of the provincial Assembly of Finnmark, Ragnhild Vassvik said on the sidelines of the conference in Kirkenes, and the power, and ordinary Norwegians living in the border with the Murmansk region the region, are interested in continuing effective cooperation and maintaining good neighborly relations with Russia.

Murmansk region and province of Finnmark have been successfully cooperating for several decades, and 25 years ago was signed the Kirkenes Declaration, which became the basis for the creation of “the Barents region”, bringing together the Northern territories of Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The inhabitants of Northern Norway’s special relationship to Russia – they respectfully retain the memory of what the Soviet army during the great Patriotic war liberated Finnmark from Nazi invaders. In the last decade in the border areas is developing a number of joint projects, strong and “people’s diplomacy”.

“When sanctions were imposed against Russia, at the regional level, we could only accept them. We talked about them in a friendly manner with the Russians in Murmansk. Talked about the fact that nothing can do about it, since it decided the Norwegian government. We want to maintain good relations with Russia, as we have been for several decades,” — said RIA Novosti Vassvik.

She noted that in recent times has again increased the number of crossings of the Russian-Norwegian border, develop cultural contacts, but so far the cooperation in the field of entrepreneurship is “stalled somewhat”. “Now there are problems so that the Norwegian businessmen working in Russia. This is largely due to the development of Norwegian territories, now there are many interesting things going on, the Norwegian entrepreneurs not much interest to go to Russia. There are difficulties with visas, bureaucracy and other difficulties, so only the greatest enthusiasts will do it,” said Vassvik.

In her opinion, good neighborly relations will remain too strong established in many years of communication between people. Norwegians in Finnmark are interested in learning the Russian language, and young people have a desire to learn more about Russia. “The border is open today, we have many people from Russia working in Finnmark, educated upscale professionals, they work in the municipalities is very successful, even in local authorities”, — said Chairman of the provincial Assembly.

Opening the conference on Tuesday, Minister of local government and regional development Norway Monica Meland described the Barents region as the interweaving of cultures, countries and peoples. “The Barents region has strong international features, we see a strong linguistic and cultural ties. People here share a common history, which constantly continues to evolve. There’s even road signs in English, Norwegian and Russian languages is indicative of the close cooperation and regular contacts,” — said the Minister.

According to her, the task of the authorities is to ensure a good level of international cooperation that will promote peace and stability in the region. “We depend on international cooperation to solve big social problems associated with climate change, migration, resources, and manpower,” added Mailand.

Kirkenes conference is an annual gathering of politicians, economists, scientists, representatives of public organizations, which discuss the most urgent issues of international relations in the North. The main topic of discussion this year was the 25th anniversary of the cooperation in the Barents region, resource management, logistics in the Arctic and the development of relationships.

Among the main speakers at the conference stated the foreign Minister of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of local government and regional development Monika Meland, Minister of transport of the Kingdom of Kjetil Solvik-Olsen, and also the head of the Ministry of transport of Finland Anne Berner, the EU Ambassador for special assignments in the Arctic Marie-Anne Coninsx and former Minister of foreign Affairs Thorvald Stoltenberg (father of the current head of NATO), who is considered the founder of the Barents region, and other policies.

Barents Euro-Arctic region was established to enhance international and regional cooperation and development of public diplomacy in January 1993. The territory of the region is 1.9 million square kilometers. Population — 6 million people. The region comprises the provinces of Norway, Nordland, Troms, Finnmark, Lena of Sweden, västerbotten County and Norrbotten County, province of Finnish Lapland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Kainuu, as well as regions of Russia — Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblast, Komi Republic and Karelia, and Nenets Autonomous Okrug.