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MOSCOW, August 3 (Itar-Tass) — The main work priority of Artur Chilingarov, who is re-appointed by Vladimir Putin as special presidential envoy for international cooperation in the Arctic and the Antarctic, will remain the preparation of the application to fix the Russian Federation's continental shelf border.
Senator Chilingarov noted in an interview with Itar-Tass that the signing of the presidential decree on his reappointment on August 2 was deeply symbolic for him.
On the day five years ago, Chilingarov who was a State Duma member at the time, and his colleague, lower house member Vladimir Gruzdev (currently Governor of the Tula Region), as crewmembers in the Mir-1 mini-submarine sank to a depth of 4,261 m at the North Pole point. They placed the Russian Federation flag and left a capsule with a message for future generations at the site on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.
The expedition aroused great interest in the Arctic, the envoy noted, adding that it gave rise to Arctic activities of all the countries.
When asked about his near future plans, Chilingarov confirmed that he would continue Arctic research and the preparation of the country's application to the United Nations to establish the Russian continental shelf border.
Two expeditions with two icebreakers and also submersibles are planned for the next year. Drilling work will be conducted on the Mendeleyev upper area to take samples of rocks and with geological research to confirm and substantiate the claims to the shelf, he said. "It is the main task," he noted.
Speaking about the international activities, the researcher said that annual conferences on "the Arctic -- Territory of Dialogue" held by the Russian Geographic Society are of particular interest. "We are open for international cooperation," he assured.
The Antarctica will not be left without Russia's attention. "Naturally, expeditions there are also planned," Chilingarov said.