LexisNexis News: Putin on results of Russian -Finnish talks
On Oct 25, 2009 Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen gave a joint press conference on the results of the Russian -Finnish talks.
Vladimir Putin’s remarks: “We have just finished another meeting with Mr. Matti Vanhanen. I would like to express appreciations to all the Finnish colleagues for the common substantive discussion and the businesslike mood.
We had a committed and frank discussion on practically all the issues on the bilateral agenda from trade and industrial cooperation to cooperation in the humanitarian and environmental fields.
It is important that in spite of the negative consequences of the global crisis the implementation of key Russian-Finnish projects is going ahead at a good clip. Of course there has been some decline in the volume of trade, but I am sure that in the future we will be able to turn this situation around. In this connection I would like to remind you that last year Russia emerged as the biggest trading partner of the Finnish Republic.
We are committed to building up our business ties, improving their quality and stability and developing both the traditional and new areas of economic partnership.
During our talks energy issues came in for particular attention. We discussed of course the plans of Russia and our European partners to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline. We expect that the Finnish Government will shortly grant permission to lay the pipeline in its economic zone in the Baltic Sea.
On the whole – and I would like to draw your attention to this – there is more and more support in Europe for the diversification of energy routes. Just recently, as you know, the Danish Government has allowed the pipeline to go through its economic zone for which we would like to thank that country’s leadership.
I would like to note progress on the transport programmes between Finland and the Russian Federation. By the end of next year high-speed train service will be launched between St.Petersburg and Helsinki. That will cut the travel time by half. Mr.Vanhanen suggested that we make the inaugural trip together. I think we will do it.
During the meeting we discussed broader environmental cooperation in the Baltic. We have accumulated some good positive experience here. For example, construction has been completed of the south-western purification plants and of the Northern sewerage in St.Petersburg.
We intend to continue cooperation in this sphere. We have discussed the prospects for similar joint projects in other Russian cities on the Baltic coast, above all Kaliningrad.
Russia supports the Finnish initiative of holding a Baltic Summit in Helsinki early next year. I believe that its decisions will strengthen environmental cooperation in the region.
Let me remind you that our country currently holds the presidency of the Helsinki Commission on the Protection of the Baltic Marine Environment. Needless to say, we are ready to render our Finnish colleagues every kind of assistance in the context of the future forum.
I would also like you to know that the Government of the Russian Federation has decided to prepare and launch the implementation of a programme to improve the Baltic Sea ecology. The programme will cover the period of 2010-2015. It is based on the measures set forth in the Helsinki Commission action plan.
Today we attended the work of the Third Russian-Finnish Forestry Summit. The development of partnership in this important area is central to our bilateral economic relations.
Naturally, our decisions in this field should be flexible and should take into account the real situation and the problems engendered by the global economic crisis. Therefore we have decided to accommodate our long-time partners by freezing for a further year – in fact it will most probably cover the year 2011 as well – the introduction of higher duties on the export of raw timber.
But as I said, the moratorium cannot last eternally. We have made our strategic choice in favour of rapid development of the timber processing industry in Russia and we will continue our dialogue with our Finnish partners.
I am confident that our Finnish colleagues will avail themselves of the opportunities being opened up to build the relevant enterprises in Russia.
Summing up, I would like to stress that Russian-Finnish relations are developing dynamically in every area. This is particularly heartening knowledge today as we mark a milestone of our joint history, the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Finnish Autonomy within the Russian Empire.
We intend to continue to do everything to develop the whole range of humanitarian ties between Russia and Finland. Just the other day a Russian pavilion was launched at the Helsinki Book Fair.
Mr. Prime Minister and I are to attend together the opening of Finland House in St.Petersburg. We hope that its work will help to bring our states and societies still closer together and strengthen the spirit of genuine good neighbourhood between Russia and Finland which has for decades provided a good example of cooperation in Europe.
Finally, I would like to thank my esteemed colleague, Mr. Matti Vanhanen, for substantive negotiations.” / http://premier.gov.ru
October 26, 2009