EU-NATO Arctic plans often clash with Russian, Norwegian national interests, says senator

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MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. On Tuesday, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev hailed cooperation between Russia and Norway in the Arctic, stressing that plans of the European Union and NATO in the region are sometimes at odds with the national interests of both countries.

“Fortunately, so far [Russia’s] problems with the EU and with NATO have not affected our positive cooperation in the Arctic region. This is yet another topic for vital bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” the Russian senator stressed.

“It appears that the European Union and NATO devise plans concerning the Arctic region that are sometimes at odds with the national interests of Russia and Norway. At least this is how we see it,” Kosachev said as he met with Norwegian Ambassador to Russia Rune Resaland.

He also praised the constructive and mutually advantageous cooperation of Russia and Norway in the fishery, energy and ecology sectors, and also in nuclear and radiation security. “We are neighbors, we have a common land border. And I am confident that our countries and peoples have a lot of domains where our interests coincide and where cooperation is beneficial for the both of us,” the senator stressed.

He mentioned, however, certain problems persisting in bilateral relations and hindering progress. Among them are Norway joining the European Union’s anti-Russian economic sanctions, although the country is not an EU member. “It seems to us that on a number of positions, [Norway] is even more radical than the most radical members of that organization,” he went on to say.

The legislator also drew attention to Norway’s active participation in the military activity of NATO. “Of course, we are talking about the geographical proximity to Russia’s regions, and this in no way helps to decrease tensions that exist in relations between Russia and NATO, while we believe that Norway could play a more constructive role in this respect,” he stressed.

Anyway, “all these issues are in the focus of fairly regular political dialogue between both countries,” maintained at the level of the countries’ leaders, as well as between the governments, foreign ministries and other agencies, Kosachev said.


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