RF ready to contribute to preserving unique Arctic nature

MOSCOW, August 6 (Itar-Tass) — President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia is ready to make contribution to preserving the unique Arctic nature and implementing international projects in the region.

In his greetings message to the participants in an international conference, “By Northern Sea Route to Strategic Stability and Equal Partnership in the Arctic”, on Saturday, Medvedev said, “The Arctic possesses of rich mineral resources. The Northern Sea Route, the shortest navigation itinerary linking Europe and Asia, passes through the Arctic. That is why the stable and sustainable development of the region – based on cooperation and unconditional respect of international law – has an exclusive importance.”

“Russia is ready to make contribution to preserving the unique Arctic nature and implementing joint international projects in transport and extractive industries. I hope that the initiatives, which have been worked out during our meeting, will facilitate the resolution of these problems,” the Russian president stressed.

The conference is being held aboard the Yamal nuclear icebreaker, which will steer from the port of Varandei to the port of Tiksi where it arrives on August 11. “The major goal of the conference is to confirm Russia’s commitment to the norms of international law by realising its priorities in the Arctic under the Fundamentals of the State Policy in the Arctic till 2020, stepping up international cooperation in the region and discussing commercial projects and initiatives related to the Northern Sea Route and the social-economic development of Russia’s Arctic,” the Security Council reported.

The participants in the conference will discuss possible directions of cooperation between Arctic states and security in the Arctic, prospects for the development of a special mode of nature management and the environmental protection in the Arctic, the creation of a common forecasting and emergency system, as well as international, legal, economic and other aspects of shipping along the Northern Sea Route.

Earlier, secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said the imperfection of the transport infrastructure in the Arctic region hampers the development of the region.

“This infrastructure does not meet necessary requirements for protecting Russia’s national interests,” Patrushev said.

“The insufficiency of present-day systems for transporting the Arctic shelf’s mineral resources reduces the investment attractiveness of the country’s main resource base,” he stressed. In his words, the terminals, Varandei and Prirazlomnoye in the Pechora Sea, as well as the merchant navy for taking crude hydrocarbons out of these terminals, are likely an exclusion of the rather difficult situation in this area.

In addition, Patrushev said, “The imperfection of the dual-purpose transport infrastructure prevents from solving problems of units of Russia’s Armed Forces in the Arctic region and has a negative impact on ensuring military security in the region.”

“The existing navigation and hydrometeorological systems allow us to develop the economy of the western part of the Arctic region. But in the eastern part where the majority of our potential resources is located these problems are solved insufficiently,” he added.

“As a whole the exploration of the Arctic region needs strategic planning of our actions to develop Arctic territories within the realisation of the Russian Federation’s state policy in the Arctic region,” the secretary of the Security Council pointed out.

The development of the Arctic region should be accompanied by strengthening military and border security in the region and creating systems to prevent emergency situations, Patrushev said.

Patrushev said a decision taken by the Russian Security Council in 2008 had started the work on developing the potential of the Arctic region.

He recalled that Russia had approved the Fundamentals of the State Policy in the Arctic Region till 2020 and determined measures to form a development strategy on the Russian Arctic region and a state programme. “Today the government is implementing measures to realise the Fundamentals of the State Policy. The government is ending efforts aimed at working out a development strategy on the Russian Arctic region in order to ensure national security,” the secretary of the Security Council said.

At the same time, he said, “In all documents the development of the transport infrastructure is a priority task in the Russian Arctic region in order to ensure national security.” “We should link efforts aimed at improving the transport infrastructure to resolving problems related to strengthening military and border security and cope with the consequences of possible emergency situations in the entire Arctic region,” Patrushev stressed.

In his words, the development of “dual-purpose facilities at the Northern Sea Route for the benefit of temporary stationing of combat ships and vessels of the Navy, the Border Guard Service will reinforce our military and border security”.

In order to develop the potential of Russia’s Arctic new measures should be taken in the tax and investment policy, Patrushev said.

The offices of the Russian presidential plenipotentiary representatives to federal districts “should join efforts to coordinate measures in order to increase social responsibility of economic entities dealing with resource development in the Arctic”.

Patrushev stressed that a meeting, involving presidential plenipotentiary representative to the Northwestern Federal District Ilya Klebanov, and the leadership of ministries and agencies, “is designed to use the existing reserve possibilities of the federal centre and Russian regions located in the Arctic area in order to realise the Russian Federation’s state policy in the Arctic”.

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