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OSLO, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - Foreign ministers of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) on Tuesday will summarise the results of Norway’s two-year chairmanship in BEAC.
Taking part in the 14th Ministerial Session of Tromso in Norway will be Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Finland - Carl Bildt and Erkki Tuomioja, representatives of Denmark, Iceland and the European Union. Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov will take part n the meeting from the Russian side.
There were many significant events during the Norwegian presidency in the BEAC, including the signing of a new Kirkenes Declaration, the presentation of a joint transport plan and the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Barents Region. According to the established rules, on Tuesday Finland will take over the BEAC chairmanship. Russia, which held the chairmanship in 2007-2009, will take it over from Finland in 2015.
According to the Russia's Foreign Ministry, the priorities of cooperation for the Russian side in the Barents Region are the intensification of business contacts, promotions of joint business initiatives and the creation of a new instrument of their financing, as well as projects for the development of natural resources in the region and the use of its rich scientific, technical and human potential. In addition, both Russian and Norwegian politicians say that the transition to a visa-free regime is one of the important tasks for the BEAC member states.
The Barents cooperation was established under the Kirkenes Declaration in 1993, and is the mainstay of regional cooperation in the High North. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Russia and the EU are members of the BEAC.
The Barents/Euro-Arctic Council was formed to enhance international and regional cooperation and the development of public diplomacy. It includes the heads of the 13 regions of the member states, from Finland: Kainuu, Lapland, Oulu; from Norway: Finnmark, Nordland, Troms; from Russia: Arkhangelsk, Karelia, Komi, Murmansk, Nenets regions; from Sweden: Norrbotten and Västerbotten.
Numerous international cooperation projects, implemented in the region over the past 20 years, are supervised at the regional and national levels. The Council holds regular meetings at the level of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and at the ministerial level. A new framework document on cooperation of the BEAC member countries was signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with the colleagues in the Norwegian town of Kirkenes in June 2013.