President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Prime Minister, first of all I would like to welcome you to Moscow. I hope that your visit will be useful and productive. But before we start our formal talks I would like to sincerely congratulate you on two events of national importance: first I mean, of course, Norway's Constitution Day [May 17], and second, the victory of the Norwegian performer [Alexander Rybak] in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Recently, our relations have developed apace and we are very happy about this. You have visited us and some of our colleagues have visited Norway.
Economic relations have also developed very well. In recent years – in any event in the past year – there has been a fairly substantial increase in trade. Of course this year promises to be not quite so good, although our colleagues are working on this. The 12th session of the [Russian-Norwegian] Intergovernmental Commission took place not long ago, and our first Deputy Prime Minister and his Norwegian counterpart took part in it. I hope that despite the current economic difficulties this will allow us to scale new economic heights.
Our countries are northern, arctic ones and the general development of the region depends on the extent to which we adopt an allied, coordinated policy for the development of the Arctic. I think that this is one of the most important areas for our cooperation. Therefore, I propose that we discuss economic issues and other issues of mutual interest.
In light of the signing of a number of important documents, I hope that during your visit we will achieve new results that will enhance friendly cooperation between our two countries.
Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg (as translated into Russian): Thank you Mr President, it is an honour to be in Moscow once again.
For our part allow us to congratulate you for the magnificent way in which the Eurovision finals were conducted, because I can say with some assurance that it was the single most important event in Norway last weekend. I am not sure that we can stage as brilliant a show in Norway next year as you did here in Moscow, but as they say we will certainly give it our best. And the fact that the winner of this competition was born in the former Soviet Union and speaks fluent Russian is yet another manifestation of the forces of globalisation currently at work.
Dmitry Medvedev: The main thing is that he also spoke fluent Norwegian.
Jens Stoltenberg: Yes. I am very happy that we have been able to maintain and develop our bilateral relations. Norway and Russia have had neighbourly relations for a very long time now.
Just a few days ago I had the opportunity to exchange with Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister [Viktor Zubkov] views on how we can further develop and expand our relationship. As you yourself said, Mr President, we have a lot in common: we are Nordic countries, we have many mutual and shared interests, we are major producers and exporters of natural gas and energy resources. I think that this shows that we are partners on the European continent, as we have common interests of continuing to develop and expand our opportunities in the European gas market. Of course we are also very pleased that Norway now has the opportunity to participate in the development of the Shtokman gas and condensate field.
When I travel around the world I like to brag about the success Norway and Russia have had in cooperating on fishing. I do not think you can find an example of a more successful collaboration anywhere in the world. While other countries have virtually depleted their resources and their stocks, within the framework of our cooperation we have been able to preserve, develop and increase them. In recent years we have been able to successfully combat illegal fishing: we have reduced poaching from about 100,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes. We have also made significant progress in the field of the environmental protection, where we have a number of joint projects. Therefore, I am very pleased that we are now able to further develop and expand our cooperation.