24 joint projects will be implemented in Karelia in 2003 by the Russian and Finnish governments. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Deputy Prime Minister of Karelia Ivan Shurupov.
Mr Shurupov said that the majority of joint projects are being carried out in the Karelian Republic where the largest section of the Russian-Finnish border is located. Saint Petersburg and the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Regions are also participating in the projects. Mr Shurupov added that the projects for 2003 include the construction and reconstruction of sewage treatment plants in several regions of the republic including the island of Valaam, the construction of an aerodrome in the Kalevala settlement and preventive measures against AIDS and tuberculosis among those citizens living in the border regions. He also mentioned plans for the preservation of wood carvings in Sortalava and several other projects in the areas of energy, health, social protection, tourism and local management.
In 2002 the trade turnover between the Karelian Republic and Finland came to USD 255.5 million, a year-on-year increase of 5.2%. Mr Shurupov said that poor management of the Karelian section of the Russian-Finnish border was preventing more active collaboration with Finland. In particular, he mentioned the poor work of road checkpoints and the limitations on the transportation of timber, which were introduced by the Russian and Finnish Ministries of Transport in 2002.