Jens’ big day in Murmansk

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Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg could leave domestic political problems behind him on Wednesday, at least for a few triumphant hours, when he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev formally ended a 40-year dispute over territorial rights in the Barents Sea. Here are photos from the historic event, courtesty of photo service PicApp.

ITAR-TASS: MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (R-L) greet each other. (Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom


Spirits were high for the leaders of both countries involved, as they settled the long dispute over 175,000 square kilometers of maritime area rich in natural resources. Here are Stoltenberg (left) and Medvedev greeting each other in Murmansk.

MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. 
Norways' prime minister Jens Stoltenberg (L), and Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev at a joint press conference after talks in Murmansk. Russia and Norway have signed a maritime border agreement ending a 40-year dispute over a 175,000 sq km zone in the Barents Sea. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom


The two leaders had announced agreement on the deal back in April, when Medvedev was on a state visit to Norway. Last week, officials at the Kremlin called Stoltenberg’s office and said they were ready to sign the deal. They invited the Norwegians to Murmansk and everyone quickly cleared their schedules to make the trip. Here are Stoltenberg and Medvedev at Wednesday’s ceremony.

MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev speaks at a joint press conference after talks with Norways' prime minister Jens Stoltenberg in Murmansk. Russia and Norway have signed a maritime border agreement ending a 40-year dispute over a 175,000 sq km zone in the Barents Sea. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom


It’s not often that Norwegians see the president of Russia standing next to the Norwegian flag, but they could on Wednesday.

MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev (C standing) and Norway's prime minister Jens Stoltenberg (2nd L standing) look on as Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (R seated) and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere (L seated) signing a Russian-Norwegian maritime border agreement in Murmansk. The agreement settles a 40-year dispute between the two countries over a 175,000 sq km zone in the Barents Sea. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom

MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev and Norway's prime minister Jens Stoltenberg (R-L background) look on as Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere (R-L front) shake hands after signing a Russian-Norwegian maritime border agreement in Murmansk. The agreement settles a 40-year dispute between the two countries over a 175,000 sq km zone in the Barents Sea. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom


The actual deal was signed by the foreign ministers for each country, at left Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway and at right, Sergey Lavrov of Russia.

MURMANSK, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 15, 2010. Norway's prime minister Jens Stoltenberg (L) and Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev at the signing of a Russian-Norwegian maritime border agreement in Murmansk. The agreement settles a 40-year dispute between the two countries over a 175,000 sq km zone in the Barents Sea. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Mikhail Klimentyev) Photo via Newscom

Stoltenberg and Medvedev were all smiles after agreeing on what the Norwegians call the “dellinje,” or dividing line, in the Barents Sea.

The historic pact settles rights not only to fishing but also to undersea oil and gas resources, and it may lead to a new boom in offshore exploration, despite the environmental sensitivity of the Arctic area. Russia is expected to move quickly with more seismic testing and offshore development, and Norwegian companies are clamoring to do the same but likely will face more regulation and political opposition.

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