An agreement was signed today in St. Petersburg on Finland's contribution of EUR 10 million towards the construction of the Southwestern Sewage Processing Plant in St. Petersburg. Its signing came as a result of the meeting between prime ministers of Baltic countries held in St. Petersburg. Sweden also committed itself to contributing to the same end EUR 11 million. As Finnish News Agency STT today announced, the Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson were present at the signing ceremony.
The construction of the Southwestern Sewage Processing Plant began initially in the eighties, but was abandoned due to lack of means. For the work to be completed, another EUR 180 are needed. When it comes into operation in 2004, the complex will process 330,000 cubic metres of sewage, approximately equivalent to the capacity of Helsinki's sewage processing plant.
Instead of Consul General Kauko Jamsen, who was intended to sign the agreement for the Finnish side, it fell to Rene Newburg, as the mini-bus carrying Prime Minister Lipponen was held up in a traffic jam on leaving the Pulkovo airport for St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakolev and General Director of Vodokanal Felix Karmazinov signed the agreement on behalf of Russia.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969