Alexander Yakovenko on political dialogue between Russia & Norway

Russia and Norway are beginning to have an intensive political dialogue, both at the top and the high levels, Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, told RIA Novosti in advance of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Oslo on November 11th.

The diplomat recalled that the last time a Russian president paid a state visit to Norway was in March, 1996. In May, 1998, the Norwegian king paid a response visit to Russia.

According to his words, the two countries' premiers and foreign ministers have come to hold annual meetings. Contacts between the Russian and Norwegian parliaments are expanding as well. The President of Storting, or the Norwegian parliament, paid an official visit to Russia on September 16th-20th. Norwegian diplomats have announced 2002 the Year of Russia.

Russia and Norway are successfully expanding bilateral regional cooperation in the framework of the Council of the Barents/Euroarctic Region. "Our membership in the CBER is focused on comprehensive solutions to complex social, economic and nature-preservation problems facing the Russian part of the region, as well as on further development of integration processes in our relations with Northern European partners," said the foreign ministry spokesman.