Foreign Minister's Visit To Confirm Steady Russo-Finnish Contacts

A visit of Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Helsinki will confirm the stability of Russo-Finnish relations, Alexander Yakovenko, Ministry of Foreign Affairs press spokesman, said in a Novosti interview. As he described the progress of bilateral contacts, the diplomat remarked: "As we describe Russo-Finnish relations, we never hesitate to say that there are no problems in them, and we are glad to see it." There are no political issues between Moscow and Helsinki to come as obstacles on the way of a dynamically progressing partnership. Economic and cultural links provide an unique basis for lasting mutually beneficial contacts in a changing situation, said Mr. Yakovenko. As he went on to describe the latest conditions for bilateral relations, our interviewee pointed out that the changes concerned the latest goals and priorities the Russian top was presenting to the nation, and changes in Finland, which joined the European Union with an impact on its foreign and domestic policies. Russo-Finnish relations have improved now that Finland is an EU country. On the other hand, certain problems have appeared-- suffice it to mention the European Union's anti-dumping policies for a number of commodities Finland is importing from Russia, which are causing sizable economic damage to the exporter. On the other hand, Russia can make further rapprochement with the European Union using its established economic and political links with Finland. Progress of regional partnership will be prominent on the agenda of Igor Ivanov's negotiations with the Finnish top. More than a hundred joint projects are well underway on frontier partnership in environmental efforts, transport, telecommunications, farming and forestry. Debates of Russia's partnership with Finland and the entire European Union will be no less prominent on the Helsinki agenda-- in particular, the practical content of the European union's Nordic Dimension concept, crisis settlement and strategic stability, said Alexander Yakovenko.

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