Russia assigns priority to energy dialogue with Norway

Moscow assigns priority to a dialogue between Russia and Norway - major European oil and gas producers and exporters, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti on the eve of the Norwegian Foreign Minister's visit to Russia.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen is to visit Russia on October 3-4.

The diplomat outlined "priority spheres of joint efforts - the development of oil and gas fields, the modernisation of Russian shipbuilding plants, fish-processing and port structure, and pharmaceutical production".

Alexander Yakovenko pointed to the boosting of Russian-Norwegian political dialogue at the top and high levels. Norwegian diplomats proclaimed 2002 the Year of Russia.

Russia and Norway are developing successful bilateral regional cooperation in Russia's North-west. Moscow assigns priority to Norway's proposal to hold a meeting between the prime ministers of the member-states of the Euro-Arctic Region Council in January 2003, Yakovenko said.

The official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry also pointed to the growth of trade, which exceeded 1 billion dollars in 2001. The volume of Norwegian investments into Russian economy totalled 500 million dollars, he added.

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