GORKI, March 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev vowed Friday that if Yekaterinburg wins its bid to host the World Expo 2020, the government guarantees that all the events will be held at a top-notch level, as a delegation from the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) called its meeting with Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin a “powerful political backing” behind the city’s bid.
“We are determined to prove that Yekaterinburg is a very good candidate for the 2020 event. I hope that you will be able to see that for yourselves during your stay in our country,” Medvedev told Steen Christiansen, executive committee chairman of the BIE, which is due to select the winning city in November.
Christiansen praised the bid team’s presentation, which he said had provided exhaustive answers to the BIE, adding that the city had very good chances of winning the bid.
Putin pledged on Thursday to revamp transportation links in Yekaterinburg if the city wins the bid to host the World Expo 2020. The president said at a meeting of BIE representatives that the organization’s recommendations would be followed if the Urals city is successful in its bid.
Although world fairs do not necessarily yield tangible economic returns, they are often seen as a profile-building prestige event. Other countries hoping to host the expo in 2020 include Turkey, Thailand and Brazil.
Putin said efforts to develop Yekaterinburg will focus on roads, the airport and access routes. Authorities will also support business in building up hotels, he said.
The bid to host the Expo 2020 in Yekaterinburg, which is the capital of the Urals Federal District, was presented at the 152nd session of the BIE’s general assembly in November by a team led by Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.
The presentation touted the potential Yekaterinburg Expo 2020 as “the capstone of a grand effort to reconnect Russia to the world.”
Yekaterinburg “is investing billions” on modern transportation systems, techno parks and one of the world’s largest housing projects, the team said in its presentation.
The other contenders competing to hold the Expo 2020 are Izmir in Turkey, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Sao Paolo in Brazil, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
The next world fair is due to be held in Milan, Italy, in 2015, and that will be followed by the Expo 2017 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.