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Please enter the digits in the box below:  |  Interviews  |  Lene Espersen: Danish government has great expectations for business...


September 08, 2011

Lene Espersen: Danish government has great expectations for business cooperation with Russia

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has been in Moscow on a state visit this week. Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen, who accompanied Margrethe II during her Russian visit, gave an interview to Interfax and talked about regional cooperation between Russia and Denmark, and about plans for bilateral economic and energy cooperation.

Question: The Arctic Regions are a major area of cooperation between Denmark and Russia. What would you say about the possible militarization of the region, in particular Russias plans to build up its military presence there?

Answer: We do not see any prospects of a significant militarization of the Arctic in the years to come. Today the Arctic is a region characterized by peace, stability and constructive cooperation, and the Arctic states all agree that that is the way it must stay in the future. The five Arctic Ocean coastal states are committed to base themselves on international law, especially the law of the sea, and to the peaceful solution of any future overlapping claims on the continental shelf, as agreed in the Ilulissat Declaration from 2008. That the Declaration is working is evidenced by the Russian-Norwegian agreement entered into last year on the demarcation in the Barents Sea.

Q. Do you think it necessary to work out an international convention listing the rules of exploring the Arctic natural resources? And what is your opinion of Russias bid to expand its continental shelf?

A. An international convention on the Arctic - similar to the Antarctic Treaty - is proposed by some who think that the Arctic is not governed by laws and regulations. That is not the case. The Arctic is governed by the laws and regulations of the Arctic states and international law. And the Arctic is inhabited - contrary to the Antarctic. Furthermore, the Arctic states are cooperating closely, inter alia in the Arctic Council on the question of sustainable development, protection of the environment and oil and gas guidelines.

Russia has the same possibility to present scientifically based claims on the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean outside its Exclusive Economic Zone as the other Arctic Ocean coastal states, including the Kingdom of Denmark. Any overlapping claims will be solved through peaceful negotiations among the states involved.

Q. You said recently that Denmark welcomes major international companies effort to explore Greenlands resources. What are Russian companies prospects in this field?

A. We welcome the contribution of companies - from Russia as well as any other state - to the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources of Greenland. Today there are a number of international oil companies operating in Greenland such as BP (British), Exxon Mobil (American), EnCana (Canadian), DONG (Danish) and JOGMEC (Japanese). All companies are welcome as long as they live up to standards securing greatest possible benefits for the Greenlandic society and they live up to the high international standards for scientific and seismic activity, safety, health, the environment, preparedness and transparency.

Q. What would you say about the investment climate in Russia? What in your opinion can be done to attract more Danish companies to Russia?

A. Danish companies working in Russia have noted clear improvements in the Russian business climate over the past decade.

Russian membership in the World Trade Organization is now the single most important step to further improve investment conditions. I hope that Russia will become a member of the WTO in the very near future.

The Russian modernization effort is also very interesting for Danish companies. There is a good match between the Russian aims and what Danish companies can offer in areas like energy technology, transport, agriculture and health and pharmaceuticals. Denmark has concluded a Modernization Partnership with Russia. We are now following up with a concrete work plan. The broader aspects of modernization, such as legal reform, will further improve the investment climate in Russia.

Recently, the Danish government has launched work on a strategy aiming at increasing business relations with Russia, including bringing more Danish companies to Russia. We have great expectations for future business relations.


Filipino Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about prospects for Russian-Filipino cooperation in the military-technical sphere, as well possible cooperation on anti-terrorism, energy, investments and tourism.

Sudanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Atta Elmanan Bakhit has given an interview to Interfax during his visit to Moscow in which he speaks about a visit of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to Russia, bilateral Russian-Sudanese economic and military cooperation and describes sanctions in the global politics as "immoral and illegal".

Secretary General of the League of Arab States has given an interview with Interfax in the wake of his negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which he speaks about the participation of Arab countries in the Astana process, Russia‘s political and military role in Syria, as well as prospects for resuming Syria‘s membership in the Arab League.

Bahraini Ambassador to Russia Ahmed Abdulrahman Al Saati has given an interview to Interfax in which he speaks about the prolongation of the decision of OPEC and non-OPEC countries to freeze oil output, prospects of energy cooperation between Bahrain and Russia, bilateral military-technical cooperation and prospects for resuming diplomatic relations with Iran.

Following strikes of the U.S.-led coalition on pro-governmental forces in Syria, the coalitions spokesman Ryan Dillon has given a Skype interview to Interfaxs correspondent Ksenia Baygarova in which he speaks about if U.S. notified Russia in advance of upcoming strikes on pro-governmental forces in Syria, about how to avoid incidents in the future and about when al-Raqqa and Mosul will be liberated from terrorists.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has given an interview to Interfax correspondent Veronika Vishnyakova in which he speaks about his recent talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Pakistan-Russian interaction on Afghanistan, as well as his expectations from upcoming entry of Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Austrian Ambassador to Russia Emil Brix has given an interview to Interfax foreign political desk chief Olga Golovanova on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of bilateral relations, in which he speaks about Austrias position on Ukraine in light of resolving the South Tyrol conflict, about the use of sanctions in international relations, which he considers unwise, about Austrias neutral status, as well as Austrian-Russian energy cooperation.


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