Russia’s parliamentarians want to enter into a partnership with the Nordic Council whereby they have more than just three minutes speech time as guests. This proposal was presented today during a joint meeting of the Presidium of the Nordic Council and the Russian parliamentary delegation.
The Russian parliamentary delegation to the Nordic Council was led by Gennadij Khripel, member of the Russian Federation Council. He stated clearly that the Russian parliamentarians wanted to deepen the positive co-operation with the Nordic Council politicians and he believed that they had a chance now through a new partnership.
“We have an opportunity which we should use now. We want to work closer with the Nordic Council. Therefore we propose that the delegation from the Federation Council enters into a partnership with the Nordic Council. This means that we wish to express our opinions on matters regarding Russia which are raised in the Council. In Russian, partner means someone who is an official participant in a co-operation", said Khripel, who believed that such a status would improve the Russian-Nordic co-operation, focussing particularly on the northern areas.
The President of the Nordic Council, Rannveig Gudmundsdottir, summed up the discussion by proposing separate meetings between the Nordic Council and the Russian parliamentarians to focus more closely on co-operation. She could not promise them partnership, even though several of the members of the Presidium looked on extended co-operation in a positive light and wanted a tangible agenda for renewed co-operation on matters in the northern areas.
Denmark’s member of the Presidium, Ole Stavad, thanked Gennadij Khrippel for his speech and stressed that conflicts often occur unnecessarily because people misunderstand each other. After the meeting in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council when the foreign ministers will meet in Harstad in November, the Nordic and Russian parliamentarians will prepare the agenda for a co-operation meeting in Oslo in January 2006.
“Partnership or observer status will probably not be possible, but we are willing to build on the co-operation we have begun – and move forward by holding tightly on to what we have now”, said the President of the Nordic Council, Rannveig Gudmundsdottir.
Berit Brørby, Norwegian member of the Nordic Council’s Presidium, summed up the Barents Parliamentary Conference held in Bodø in the summer and promised that matters raised there would be on the agenda for the meeting in Oslo. There the future co-operation between the Russian and Nordic parliamentarians would focus on the development in the northern areas. After the Bodø conference the parliamentarians asked the governments to work towards environmental standards for oil and gas exploration in the north, emphasising a sustainable economic development. Furthermore, the future measures for the indigenous people in the north must be discussed.