среда, 29 октября 2014 г.

Vladimir Putin meets with members of the government

Vladimir Putin met with Government members to discuss socioeconomic development in Kaliningrad Region. The housing and utilities sector, developing the Arctic and improving Russia’s investment climate were also discussed. Excerpts from transcript of meeting with Government members:


I met recently with representatives of various human rights organisations and civil society representatives. Some of them raised the issue of pollution problems in the Arctic. We decided several years ago to clean up the Arctic and allocated federal budget money specifically for this purpose. This work is underway, but people say that new problems have come up. I asked the Defence Minister to look into this matter. They have done so and their findings do not confirm any problems. We do have specialised services and agencies to deal with such matters, your agency too, Mr Donskoy. What is your view on the situation?

MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND THE ENVIRONMENT SERGEY DONSKOY: Mr President, our information does not confirm pollution problems. I also met with the Defence Minister and we discussed together the programme for cleaning up the Arctic, not just at the sites where we are working together with our colleagues, but also on other islands where there is rubbish to clear. We will carry out a clean-up together with the Defence Ministry next year. In fact, we already started this year on Wrangel Island, which is the place the rights activists mentioned. We have joint work already underway there. Overall though, we have no evidence of a pollution problem.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You mean, there is a pollution problem, but there are no new trouble spots appearing?

SERGEI DONSKOY: That’s right. There is no new pollution.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: What about the Arctic clean-up work?

SERGEI DONSKOY: It is continuing. We are still working on Franz Josef Land (there are many islands in this archipelago). We have finished work on Alexander Island and continued work on Graham Bell Island. Several thousand tons of rubbish that had accumulated there was removed this year. Next year, we will clean up Franz Josef Land. As I said, we agreed with the Defence Ministry to continue work on Wrangel Island too.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Franz Josef Land must be completely cleaned up. The work needs to be done properly.


VLADIMIR PUTIN: The same goes for the other islands. Is that agreed?

SERGEI DONSKOY: Yes, of course.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Since we are on the subject of the Arctic, scientific expeditions took place to update our bid to extend Russia’s territory by just over a million square kilometres. How is this work going? What is the situation now?

SERGEI DONSKOY: Mr President, just yesterday, a high latitude expedition returned to St Petersburg on board the research ship Akademik Fyodorov. They successfully completed all of the geophysical research and did even a bit more than what we planned. I will say some more about the weather conditions. This was the tenth and final expedition to gather additional information for Russia’s bid to extend the external borders of our continental shelf. The first expedition took place back in 2002. We organised it after our first bid in 2001 was rejected on the basis that there was insufficient data regarding the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Rise. The bathymetric and geophysical information that we provided back then was not tied to navigation points. Now this work has been completed.

Since 2002, working in icy conditions, a lot of study has been carried out. Over these last years, we have carried out deep seismic probing over a distance more than 4,000 kilometres in length, seismic exploration over 23,000 kilometres, and bathymetric profiling of an area of 35,000 kilometres.

Most interesting is that this year, on August 15, while carrying out its geophysical research, the expedition crossed the North Pole and carried out geophysical work there too for the first time in world history. We thus now also have data for the North Pole. This will help us to draw up our final draft of the bid and include the geodynamic model that summarises all of the data we have collected over this period. Now incorporating the completed studies, the Government will send our bid in accordance with the deadlines to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  Let me say that if our bid is approved, Russia will obtain sovereign rights to additional territory covering around 1.2 million square kilometres in the Arctic Sea. This also enables us to increase our estimates of hydrocarbon resources by more than 5 billion tons of conventional fuel. It will of course also give us a greater launching pad for protecting our geopolitical interests in the Arctic by establishing our jurisdiction and control over activity on the seabed and waters above.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We have more than enough territory for launching pads. The main thing is that whatever launching pads we develop, this must be done in accordance with environmental demands. You need to monitor this closely.

SERGEI DONSKOY: Yes, we are responsible for this and will certainly do this.

To be continued ...

October 29, 2014, 15:40. Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

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