Russian Premier to Leave Murmansk for Kirkeness, Norway

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will complete his working visit to the Murmansk region on Friday and will fly to Norway for a two-day visit. On Friday, the Prime Minister will visit the Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka enterprise, specialising in prospecting for and developing the shelf oil and gas deposits.

Then, the head of the Russian government and officials accompanying him will fly to Kirkeness (Norway). Mikhail Kasyanov will take part in the meeting devoted to the 10th anniversary of the activity of the Barents/Euroarctic Region Council (BERC). The functions timed to this date will be conducted in the Norwegian city of Kirkeness on board the Trollfjord sea liner.

Taking part in the arrangements will also be heads of governments of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, representatives of the country holding the European Union's rotating presidency (Greece) and the European Communities Commission. Among the invited guests will also be heads of the administrative-territorial formations of BERC member countries (from Russia - heads of the Karelian and Komi republics, the Nenets autonomous area, and the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions).

Official representative of the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the Russian side considers its participation in BERC an important direction of its European policy. "Over the ten years of its existence, this organisation has grown into a firm and authoritative European structure and has become an efficient mechanism of multilateral cooperation in the North," Yakovenko stressed.

On Saturday, January 11, another Council's session at the level of heads of government will be held to yield a declaration.

On Saturday, Kasyanov will also hold a bilateral working meeting with Prime Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen. Later in the evening Kasyanov will return to Moscow.

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