Russia and Finland begin dialogue over energy issues

Feb 28, 2002 01:00 AM

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen have decided to begin a dialogue on energy issues. The economies of the two countries are closely inter-related, so the cooperation in power generation must be reliable and promising, Kasyanov emphasised. He also noted that if necessary, Russia and Finland may coordinate their energy balances.
Russia may meet all Finland's demands for gas, oil and electricity, the Russian prime minister said. The specifics of geographical location and relations between Russia and Finland require a more thorough study and measures in this sphere, according to Kasyanov. The parties also considered cooperation in nuclear power generation. If the Finnish parliament approves expansion in that sphere, Russia will participate in tenders to build nuclear facilities in that country," he said.

The Russian prime minister noted that the relations between the two countries are on the rise and that both sides are satisfied with last year results. Kasyanov praised the progress in the trade and economic sphere which posted a high volume of turnover. He emphasized that semi-annual meetings became a good tradition with the prime ministers of the two countries. The prime ministers discussed various aspects of relations, not problems, because the two countries and good neighbours.
Cooperation in forestry are standing issues in the negotiations between the prime ministers. Lipponen said he hopes to study opportunities for interaction in this field. Finland is also interested in investing in this branch of the Russian industry. Russia owns about 25 % of world's timber reserves while Finland has the Europe's most advanced and largest wood- processing plants.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow and Helsinki intend to build their relations in such a way as to conveniently fit them in the context of relations between Russia and the European Union. Russia is ready to develop and maintain the relations established with Finland, Putin said.
Turnover between the two countries increased to $ 6 bn in 2001, Putin said, noting that "there are large promising projects, some of them can be called multi-national, being of interest to Russia, Finland and the whole Europe." For his part, the Finnish prime minister expressed confidence that the EU expansion in 2004 will mostly have positive consequences for Russia.

Lipponen called Russia's upcoming entry in the World Trade Organisation as an important step in its integration in the world economy. Finland gives a high valuation to the Russian government's efforts to meet the terms for Russia's entry in that organisation, he said.
Russia has made a significant progress in the process, according to him. It is important to continue bilateral contacts over tariffs, as well as the work to bring the Russian legislation in line with WTO norms, Lipponen noted.

Source: Itar-Tass
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