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Arctic should not remain an arena of cooperation exclusively for regional states — envoy

According to Vladimir Barbin, many challenges in the Arctic are cross-border

ULAN UDE, June 15 /TASS/. Russia welcomes a constructive contribution of the Arctic states and international organizations, including NGOs, to the development of the Arctic region, Vladimir Barbin, the Ambassador at Large with the Russian Foreign Ministry in charge of international cooperation in the Arctic, said in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Russian Republic of Buryatia, on Wednesday.

"Russia does not think that the Arctic should remain an arena of cooperation exclusively for the regional states. The more so that many challenges in the Arctic have been cross-border," Barbin told the XII Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians (CPAR). He explained that ejections into the atmosphere, which occur e in Asia and Europe, also had a direct impact on the state of the Arctic nature.

A plant for the production of LNG (liquefied natural gas) with a capacity of 16.5 million tonnes is to begin operation in the Yamal peninsula in 2017. "After its launch into operation, the freight volumes on the Northern Sea Route will multiply. Asia will be the main market," Barbin said adding that other full-scale projects would be implemented in the Arctic in the next two years.

"The products under these projects will be dispatched to foreign markets by sea. It is believed that the growth of freight volumes on the Northern Sea Route will make it more attractive for transporting cargoes between Europe and Asia," Barbin stressed.

According to him, Russia is carrying out a package of measures to ensure safe navigation; make navigation and pilotage services better and faster; develop a fleet of icebreakers and modernize port infrastructure.

"Russia believes that the Arctic states bear special responsibility for the state of things in the [Arctic] region and seeks to strengthen relations with the Arctic states - both at the bilateral level and within the framework of the Arctic Council," Barbin said.

According to him, the Arctic Council largely determines the present-day agenda for developing international cooperation in the Arctic.

"Russia wants to contribute to further consolidation of the Arctic Council’s role as the major forum for working out collective decisions concerning the Arctic region," the Russian Foreign Ministry’s ambassador said.

He noted that Russia was planning to implement more than 140 projects with investments totaling dozens of billions of dollars in the territory of the Arctic zone. "They include the development of oil and gas fields; railway, road and telecommunications infrastructure; the modernization of the timber industry; the construction of new ships and the creation of a repairing basis," Barbin said. According to him, more than 5.5 million tonnes of cargoes were transported on the Northern Sea Route in 2015.