President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Madam Prime Minister, colleagues,
Allow me to greet you once again, now in this format. First, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to St Petersburg.
Today, we covered extensively the opportunities for cooperation and the threats associated with working in the Arctic. In this regard, I would like to remind you of the positive experiences of our cooperation, the most important of which include agreements on sections of the sea, on cooperation, as well as on activities in the Barents Sea and a portion of the Arctic Ocean. This is good for bilateral relations and for cooperation in the Arctic in general.
Next year marks the 115th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. As far as I know, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of northern Norway from the Nazis, and, to my knowledge, Norway will celebrate this date at a high level. We took note of this and appreciate it very much.
Trade is also growing, it was up by almost 14 percent last year.
We are very pleased to see you. Welcome.
Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg (retranslated): Thank you, President Putin.
We are pleased to take part in this international Arctic conference, the subject of which is closely related to Norway, namely, ocean conditions. We strongly appreciate the invitation to St Petersburg and the warm welcome that we, the Norwegian delegation, have received.
Indeed, primarily, our two countries cooperate in the north. We maintain neighbourly relations, and we face many common challenges. I hope we will be able to expand this theme-specific cooperation in the future.
Indeed, northern Norway is grateful to Russia for liberating East-Finnmark from the Nazi invaders. We will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation in the autumn. We are pleased that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will come for this anniversary. Norway recognises the sacrifices the Soviet people made during liberation from the invaders. We are grateful to Russia for that.
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Question from a media member: May I ask one question from Norway?
Vladimir Putin: Go ahead.
Question: Russia is accusing a Norwegian of spying. What needs to be done to resolve this?
Vladimir Putin: Take the time to see what the court has to say about it. As in any country, our courts establish the punishment, the liability, whether a person is guilty or not. It all depends on the court ruling. Once we have it, we will see what we can do about it.
Question: Are you willing to pardon him?
Vladimir Putin: You can only pardon someone who has been convicted. He has not been convicted yet.