An international conference devoted to NATO-Russia cooperation in the Barents Region began on Monday, November 16, in Arkhangelsk. Potential areas of partnership between NATO, the northern regions of Russia, and the countries of the Barents Sea be the main topic of discussion at the conference.
The regional fund 'Rebirth of Russian culture' is organising the event. Taking part at the conference are British and Norwegian diplomats, representatives of the NATO Information Office in Moscow, teachers and students from leading Russian institutes of higher education in the area of political science and international relations.
According to Norwegian Ambassador to Russia Oivind Nordsletten, the conference is being held as a direct result of Russia-NATO cooperation, which began in the spring of 2002. 'I attended summit talks at the end of May this year in Italy, when the NATO-Russia Council was formed,' said the ambassador. 'This council is very important for international politics, ensuring our security and creating the possibility of greater cooperation.'
According to Director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow Michael Hewitt, 'the conference, which is being held by a non-governmental organisation, is proof that the Cold War is over.' Mr Hewitt also said that the office's aim is to hold these conferences in the region regularly and attract the public's attention to such events.
Following Lithuania, Norway has joined the anti-Russian frenzy as well and declared a blockade against the Russian town of Barentsburg. However, Norway has not taken into account the fact that Svalbard is not its original territory