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Sylvie Bermann: Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug is an interesting region with which we will develop cooperation

16 november 2019

Department of Public and External Relations of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Ugra informs:

The working meeting with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Russia Sylvie Bermann was held by the Governor of Ugra Natalia Komarova.

It was also attended by First Deputy Head of the region Alexei Shipilov, Deputy Governors Alexei Zabozlaev, Vsevolod Koltsov, Nikolai Milkis, Yuri Yuzhakov.

“Dialogue between our countries is regular and constructive. And our region contributes to this dialogue,” Natalia Komarova said. “Ugra’s foreign trade turnover with France in H1 2019 amounted to more than 88 mln USD. The main item is export of mineral fuel and oil products.”

In the course of the meeting, the governor focused on some promising projects of cooperation between the parties. The day before, the government of the Autonomous Okrug approved a memorandum of cooperation with the French Institute for Renewable Energy Sources. Among the areas of cooperation are development and implementation of joint scientific programs and projects in the field of enhanced oil recovery, educational programs in the oil and gas industry, and activities aimed at improving the efficiency of activities in this industry.

The memorandum will form the basis for the work of regional universities, the Ugra Research Institute of Information Technologies, the Shpilman Scientific Analytical Centre for Rational Use of Subsoil Resources and other institutions with the French Institute for Renewable Energy and its subsidiaries.

“We look forward to working on joint venues to improve oil recovery, to implementing the UNESCO project to develop educational programs for training mining engineers in the field of oil and gas production, and to certify the programs and standards of these professions. This is a very interesting project for both parties with a high efficiency,” Natalia Komarova added.

The head of the region told the ambassador about the International Youth Scientific and Practical Forum “Oil Capital” held in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug. In February 2020, it will be held for the third time. “For participation in the Forum we invite young specialists who have an opportunity to exchange experience, develop international relations in science, education, oil and gas production and mining. We are interested that the Forum was attended by specialists of the French Institute of Renewable Energy, the Total Company, with which we have long and fruitful cooperation,” Natalia Komarova said.

Sylvie Bermann said that in the near future she is planning to meet with representatives of the Total Company, in which she plans to voice the proposals of the Ugra party, to provide maximum support in their promotion.

“In addition, there will soon be a meeting of two Ministers of Economy - the Russian Minister Maxim Oreshkin and the French Minister Bruno Le Maire. They will consider all types and opportunities of economic cooperation between our countries. Of course, there are priority areas, including energy, but we are particularly interested in energy efficiency technologies. Russia has serious potential in this area. And we could find solutions for the rational use of available resources, digital technologies in this area,” the ambassador added.

Speaking about the projects implemented in the Autonomous Okrug in the field of higher education, Natalia Komarova noted their practical content. In particular, the Surgut State Pedagogical University is attached to the network of language partners of the French Embassy in Russia. The university has organized the work of the French language classroom, training of specialists, in which 40 people participate in 2019. At the same time, the Ugra State University and Orleans University are implementing the International Grant Project “Interact-2”. Universities conduct joint research on the environment, climate, biodiversity and permafrost.

"We actively use our raw material resources to diversify the economy. In this regard, we are extremely interested in cooperation in the non-raw material sector of the economy,” Natalia Komarova continued. We are also engaged in development in this area, despite the fact that we are not an agricultural region. Ugra has a very interesting set of offers of food products. These products have a unique taste due to the use of ecologically pure wild herbs, which undoubtedly arouses interest among consumers. In this regard, we expect that our estimates are right and you, Madam Ambassador, will assist in promoting our product group in the French market.

“European countries are certainly interested in supplying environmentally friendly products. Wonderful Ugra herbs, tea, and wild herbs have such properties. I can give you the most positive recommendations for your products. Now we have to find ways to sell your products in our markets,” Sylvie Bermann added.

The governor of Ugra stressed that the region is ready to offer French investors promising projects in the areas of tourism, sanatorium-resort business, equipment manufacturing, woodworking, fish processing and other industries.

“France is very interested in the development of tourism,” Sylvie Bermann supported Natalia Komarova. “Our citizens love beautiful nature, unique places. So I think Ugra will be of interest to the French tourism community. I consider the development of tourism promising for both countries, because, for example, the French are well acquainted with Moscow and St. Petersburg, but have never seen other regions of Russia, including Ugra.”

She recalled that 2021 would be the year of the regions of France and Russia. According to the ambassador, this will provide new opportunities for the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug to present its capabilities in the European republic, to open new opportunities for cooperation.

Sylvie Bermann informed that in 2020 in France there will be guest performances of Russian artists within the framework of the project “Russian Seasons”. In this regard, she suggested that Ugra’s creative teams should also be included in the project.

“We will definitely join this project. Already now, together with the Russian government, we are preparing events for the cross year of the two countries’ regions,” Natalia Komarova said. “Every year, the Autonomous Okrug hosts the first film début festival “The Spirit of Fire”, the main guests of which are very often well-known filmmakers from the French Republic. In addition, a branch of the State Academic Maly Theatre was opened in Kogalym. We have a wide range of different cultural institutions: there are drama, music and philharmonic theatres in the region. Our permanent and reliable partner is the Mariinsky Theatre. Every year maestro Valery Gergiev gives several concerts in Ugra.

Sylvie Bermann reported that the day before Valery Gergiev was awarded the Order of Arts and Literature of France - one of the highest departmental awards of the republic in the field of culture.

As a continuation of the topic, the Ambassador recalled last year’s visit of the delegation of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the Autonomous Okrug, during which a number of promising areas for cooperation were identified. In particular, entrepreneurs have identified the prospects for the development and implementation of joint projects in the health care system and environmental safety. “In the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug there are two great Siberian rivers - the Ob and Irtysh. Therefore, I propose to think about joint development of projects on the use of these hydrological resources, conservation of the environment,” she said.

According to Sylvie Bermann, another area of cooperation between the parties could be waste management, in particular of used rubber products - tires. According to her, French companies, which are among the world’s leaders, operate in France. In this regard, a proposal was made to develop joint projects and this direction.

“In addition, speaking about active cooperation with Russia, it is necessary to add that we maintain contacts with your country, including the restoration of the Notre-Dame de Paris: we have invited Russian experts to assist in this work. France is very grateful for the support provided by the Russian party,” Sylvie Bermann noted during the meeting.

“There are talented woodworkers among the Ugra citizen. They are ready to take part in the restoration of the cathedral,” Natalia Komarova added.

Following up on the discussion, the governor referred to the consolidation of the active women of the world in order to unlock and make the best use of their creativity and business potential. “Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko heads the Eurasian Women’s Forum. It has created a club of women leaders, which I try to do by organizing its work, bringing together influential women for the joint development of each individual territory and our countries as a whole. In December, the International Humanitarian Forum “Civil Initiatives of the Regions of the 60th Parallel” will be held in Ugra. It has created a special platform “Women’s influence on regional development.” I can’t ignore this opportunity, so we look forward to seeing you again in December. You are the most valuable expert for us!” Natalia Komarova stated.

“Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug is a very interesting region with which we will develop cooperation not only in the field of energy, but also in health care, tourism and other spheres. It is a beautiful region with beautiful nature, clean air. I’m very fond of Russian winter, which I could enjoy here. I’m very happy to be in Ugra,” Sylvie Bermann summed up.


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