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AMBASSADOR'S ARTICLES

29.11.2012

Remarks by Ambassador Yakovenko at the meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on cooperation with Russia

Moving from the wider cooperation between Russia and the United Kingdom I'm glad to say that we always pay attention to promoting genuine and fruitful regional interaction.

Given its cultural and economic resources and the long historical tradition of interchanges, Scotland is no doubt an important partner for us, and there is a massive potential for cooperation here.

We have an increasing number of high profile contacts. This year, for example, Scotland was visited by the Russian Minister of Culture and the Russian President's Cultural Adviser, as well as senior delegation from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, local authorities develop their links. In 2012, the cooperation between Scottish town of Stirling and Russian town of Vyborg was finally underpinned by the formal agreement.

Strengthening parliamentary relations is our objective too, of course. Establishment of your group is a very significant gesture and I can't but praise it. As you may remember Holyrood was visited by the Russian parliamentary delegation in 2011. In this regard I would like to confirm that once you feel ready, we would be glad to elaborate on the visit of the Scottish delegation to Moscow.

One of the pillars of our partnership is culture. Maestro Gergiev has been a regular guest at the Edinburgh International Festival and is its honorary president since the last year. Just recently National Museum of Scotland hosted a marvelous exhibition from world-renowned Hermitage that I was, be the way, pleased to see myself. The Edinburgh International Culture Summit, which was a great success, was attended by our minister of culture Mr Vladimir Medinskiy. Meanwhile, following the meeting between the advise on culture to the President of Russia Mr Vladimir Tolstoy and Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop a few projects are developed now between the Leo Tolstoy Museum in Russia and Scottish culture organisations.

Let's not forget educational and academic cooperation. Edinburgh University is a good example here. I have just met the Principal of the University Sir Timothy and glad to be the guest of the centre opened jointly by Scottish and Russian sides. We also appreciate and value the work performed by the Scotland-Russia Forum.

We are always open to the new opportunities to develop and diversify business links. This is the case with Scotland, of course. Both economies have much to offer today and would readily accept foreign contributions both in the form of markets and exports or investments. It's a pleasure to note the approach of the Scottish Government that welcomes and assists in strengthening economic ties of Scotland and promotes it as a rewarding economic partner and investment destination. Scottish companies' expertise and high-quality services, particularly dealing with oil and gas, are very much appreciated in Russia. At the same time we can provide our partners with the best practices, resources, unique goods and services in some areas.

I believe, developing tourism is very promising. Certainly, facilitation of the vise regime would contribute to increasing numbers of the Russian tourists. It will also make people-to-people contacts easier.

Finally, meeting the members of the Cross-Party Group on Russian today I'd like to express our appreciation to the Scottish Parliament and also to the Scottish Government for the support for the efforts at developing links with Russia.




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