Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 58

On the eve of Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s first trip to Norway, scheduled for today and tomorrow, Norwegian prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland told Itar-Tass that cooperation between the two countries has never been better. An accord on bilateral relations and several trade and economic agreements are to be signed during the visit, she said. (Itar-Tass, March 22) But relations between the two are not free of irritants. Brundtland said that demarcation of the Barents Sea between Russia and Norway was a major problem. She also spoke of promoting environmental cooperation between Norway and Russia’s northern regions, including renovation of Russia’s giant Pechenga nickel complex and removal of nuclear waste from Russia’s Northern Fleet.

A Norwegian government official said that Oslo would also raise with Yeltsin the detention Aleksandr Nikitin, a Russian researcher for the Oslo-based environmental group Bellona, who was arrested in February on charges of espionage. Issues related to NATO are also likely to be high on the agenda; Yeltsin’s visit comes on the heels of a recent NATO exercise in Norway near Russia’s border. Yeltsin has twice postponed visits to Norway for reasons of heath. He is to be accompanied by foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov. (Reuter, March 24)

Latvian President, Parliament Condemn War in Chechnya.