22 september 2011

Vladimir Putin meets with ruling Prince Albert II of Monaco at the International Arctic Forum in Archangelsk

“I hope this is only the beginning of our joint efforts to explore the Arctic, to study it and to work out regulations of international conduct in this region,” the Russian Prime Minister told the Prince of Monaco.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Your Highness, good afternoon once again. I am glad to see you in Russia. Thank you very much for taking part in today’s event, and thank you for your speech. I hope this is only the beginning of our joint efforts to explore the Arctic, to study it and work out regulations of international conduct in this region. Of course, I am glad for the opportunity to see you again, and to discuss our bilateral relations. Our business community is increasingly taking an interest in your country; the business environment is good, especially in the financial sphere. Considering the turbulence that exists in world finances today, I would, of course, be interested to hear your opinion on what is going on in this area.

Albert II (via an interpreter): Mr Prime Minister, if I may permit myself, my dear friend, thank you very much for your invitation, and for the warm welcome that I have received at this forum.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you once again for the invitation to this forum. If I understand it correctly, this forum is a follow-up to a similar event that took place in Moscow last year. However, there are some important new subjects, some important new topics that have been added to this forum. I believe that Russia’s role in the development of the Arctic region, in the use of natural resources and in environmental protection is highly important. I agree with you on the necessity to work out common regulations for the use of this region, common rules of the game that should be properly codified. This is, in fact, what you were talking about earlier today during an interview with the participants of a video conference with the Platform.

I believe we should continue to exchange opinions, and we should continue our joint work to protect the Arctic environment. We should come together to discuss what can still be done. In my opinion, our sphere of influence should embrace new Arctic regions where we can work together to protect nature. For example, you recall that there were important environmental protection concerns regarding the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. The Monaco Principality, as well as my foundation, will do their best to take part in implementing similar projects in various parts of the Arctic.

You are aware that my foundation cooperates with other organisations, some of them based in the United States, working to ensure a sustainable future for the Arctic. With them, we are in contact with your services, including the Russian Geographical Society, in order to prepare a common expedition to Franz Joseph Land. I am not sure that this will happen next year. According to my information, it will take place in 2012 or 2013 – but this expedition will occur nevertheless, and we should work together and think together how to protect the environment of this wonderful archipelago.