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27 Apr, 2010 10:46

Russia and Norway solve 40-year-long maritime border dispute

Solving the Barents Sea border issue is “a big success,” said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a joint media briefing with Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg after their meeting in Oslo.

“I hope that our teams, who I want to thank, will continue the work to technically set out the agreements that have been reached, embody them in paper and prepare for the final signing,” Medvedev said.

The Russian President said that the issue had complicated relations between Russia and Norway for a long time.

“Today we have progressed to solving this issue and taking it off the table,” he concluded.

In his turn, the Norwegian Premier declared that concerning this issue only technical work is left.

Since 1970, Norway and the Soviet Union, and then Russia, have been disputing their economic zones in the Barents Sea.

And the best way to develop some bordering oil and gas fields is by setting up a joint Russian-Norwegian company, Medvedev said.

Russia and Norway have also agreed on the delimitation of the Arctic Ocean’s territorial waters.

Russia is counting on the continuation of cooperation with Norway and with other Arctic countries concerning the Arctic Ocean, President Medvedev said.

“And, certainly, it is necessary to develop cooperation in all directions: from the point of view of security, including ecological security, and from the commercial point of view,” he said.

President Medvedev has also been satisfied with the Russian-Norwegian dialogue over cooperation in the fishing sector.

“This is a high priority in our cooperation,” he said. “Our corresponding departments work closely at the unification of measures regulating the fishing.”

Jens Stoltenberg also said that progress on fishing outstrips any other major sector.

One of the topics discussed during the meeting between the Russian President and the Norwegian Premier has been the protection of human rights in Russia.

“The Russian authorities should solve the issue of protecting human rights in Russia on their own, without ‘help from outside’, and do it openly and in cooperation with civil society,” Medvedev said at the media briefing.

“This agreement is important for both Russia and Norway,” Geir Seljeseth from the Nordlys newspaper told RT. “For 30 years we haven’t been able to develop oil and gas in this area because of the moratorium. Now we’ll have the possibility to do this. This also gives us an opportunity to build infrastructure, to introduce a visa-free regime between the regions, to boost cooperation between the countries, and to give the north more jobs it so badly needs.”