Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov embarks on a working trip to the Murmansk region on Thursday, reported the premier's press secretary Tatiana Razbash.
According to the press service of the government of the Murmansk region, the program of the trip envisages the premier's participation in a conference on development of the Murmansk road junction, a visit to the oil and gas prospecting company Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, and inauguration of a checkpoint called Borisoglebsky on the Norwegian-Russian border.
The conference, which is going to highlight the concept of the Murmansk road junction /the one that is expected to handle transportation of Russian export oil/, is to take place on board the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal on Thursday.
On Friday, Kasyanov will pay a visit to the association Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, which prospects for oil on the Arctic shelf, and familiarize himself with its research and industrial activities.
Later in the day, he will join his Norwegian counterpart Kjell Magne Bondevik to inaugurate the opening of Borisoglebsky checkpoint on the Russian-Norwegian border.
An agreement to set up a new international checkpoint instead of an old one, which was situated 20 kilometers deep into the Russian territory, was signed between the governments of Russia and Norway in May 1999. The newly constructed checkpoint provides comfortable conditions for border guards and customs officers, simplifies information exchange with their Norwegian colleagues, and has a bigger transport capacity.
After the inauguration ceremony, Kasyanov will attend a meeting dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the setting up of the Council of the Barents and Euro-Arctic Region, which will be held in Kirkenes on board the liner Trollfjord. Premiers of Northern states and European Union top officials will be attending. Thorwald Stoltenberg, Norway's ex-Foreign Minister and the "father" of Barents cooperation - it was he who advanced the initiative to set up an inter-regional association in the Barents Region 10 years ago - is expected too.
The Barents Region unites 13 regions, provinces and republics of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. Cooperation covers all spheres /including business, culture, healthcare, education and nature protection/ and is being developed at a state and public levels.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now