The General Assembly of the Northern Forum, a non-profit organization composed of regional governments in northern countries and addressing common economic, environmental, and political issues, will convene in St. Petersburg from April 20 through 23, 2003. This was made public yesterday during the meeting of Vladimir Yakovlev, the Mayor of St. Petersburg, with Hannele Pokka, the governor of Lapland. The session of the General Assembly is included in the programme of the city's tercentenary celebrations. Mr. Yakovlev and Mrs. Pokka also said an address to President Putin and the Presidents of other states was being prepared asking the heads of state to support the event. The decision to hold the session of the General Assembly in St. Petersburg was made in October last year at the previous session of the General Assembly of the Northern Forum in Edmonton, Canada. The event is supposed to emphasise the importance of Russia's Northern Capital for the development of cooperation in the north.
Chinese military experts are confident that there are only three countries of the world - Russia, the United States and China - that are capable of developing and building fifth generation fighter aircraft