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Russian-US forum dubbed Fort Ross Dialogue to be held in Russia for first time ever

The first day of the forum will be dedicated to cultural cooperation

PSKOV, May 29. /TASS/. Russian and US politicians, cultural workers and experts will discuss the ways to boost cooperation and overcome differences between the two countries at a forum dubbed Fort Ross Dialogue which will be for the first time in the Russian cities of Pskov and Izborsk on May 29-30.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural Cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi, authorities of the Pskov region and other Russian regions, senior officials from Transneft, Chevron Neftegaz Inc and Sovkomflot companies, as well as prominent international experts, will participate in the forum. US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft, President and CEO of the Fort Ross Conservancy Sarah Sweedler, political scientists and journalists will represent the United States.

Points of debate

According to the organizers, the first day of the forum will be dedicated to cultural cooperation. Heads of Russian and US museums who "value the heritage of Russian America" will take part in a conference, the organizers said adding that at present, many Russian and US museums supported business and public initiatives aimed at boosting cooperation between the two countries.

Besides, governors, diplomats and representatives of charity foundations will discuss pressing issues concerning cultural heritage and the development of cooperation with museum workers.

On the second day of the forum, the participants representing Russian and US business and expert circles will focus on the potential of bilateral cooperation in the energy sphere. Besides, the Russian Council on International Affairs and the US Center for Strategic and International Studies will present their joint report on Russian-US relations.

First time in Russia

The forum, held in the US for six successive years, will take place in Russia for the first time upon an initiative by Russian state-owned oil pipeline company Transneft. The initiative was put forward at the first meeting of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s inter-agency working group on preserving Russia’s historical and cultural heritage in the United States, held on May 25.

Shvydkoi told TASS that it had been decided to hold the forum in the city of Izborsk because "Fort Ross and Izborsk fortress are sister fortresses." According to the Russian special presidential representative, arranging such a meeting in Russia "is a very useful initiative, particularly in the current difficult period."

Shvydkoi also pointed out that in June 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had visited Fort Ross.

Sources in the US embassy in Russia expressed confidence that the forum would help facilitate dialogue and cooperation between the American and the Russian people.

Lucky place

Fort Ross, a former Russian settlement and fortress, is now a national historic landmark in the US state of California. The fortress, established in early 19th century, was the southernmost Russian settlement on the North American continent aimed at providing Alaska with food.

Fort Ross was the first place in California where windmills were built, besides, regular weather monitoring began there in 1837.

Fort Ross is believed to be a lucky place as it was never involved in military activities, while the weapons kept there were used only to welcome guests or to make sailors understand that they were facing a threat of hitting rocks.

Russia’s Consulate General in the city of San Francisco has been actively supporting the Fort Ross historic park.