Russia-Canada Ties Have Promising Future, But Yet To Unlock Full Potential - Ambassador
Sumaira FH Published November 10, 2021 | 11:20 AM
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 10th November, 2021) Russia and Canada have yet to reach the full potential of bilateral cooperation, which has all prerequisites to benefit both sides, Ambassador in Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik.
When asked how he assesses the current state of bilateral relations, Stepanov said: "Today they are not using their full potential, while we have something to rely on and something to strive for."
"Canada has been and remains our northern neighbor, a partner in the Arctic Council, where we have quite a fruitful dialogue. We continue to trade, maintain stable business and inter-regional ties," he continued. "We cooperate in space, industry, agriculture, fishing, forestry and other areas. Even though not as actively and not on as large-scale as it could have been, however, I am convinced that everything will work out, and an interesting and mutually beneficial future awaits Russian-Canadian relations."
2022, the diplomat recalled, will mark the 80th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"Over this period, despite differences on a number of key international issues, we have always managed to find common solutions," he said.
Since 2014, Russian-Canadian contacts have been frozen in many areas in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, the ambassador noted.
"Ottawa has unilaterally halted most interaction formats," he explained. "Cooperation within the intergovernmental economic commission has been suspended, military contacts have been discontinued, and parliamentary exchanges have been terminated.
Contacts at higher levels are now rare, but the leaders of the two countries periodically communicate on the sidelines of various international events. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Canadian counterpart, Marc Garneau, in Reykjavik on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in May, Stepanov recalled.
"Largely due to the pandemic and the general nature of relations, there has been a pause in the exchange of delegations," he noted.
The two countries still maintain cultural and humanitarian ties, contacts in education and science. Canadian and Russian athletes, especially hockey players, meet regularly. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the famous "USSR-Canada" super series, the diplomat said.
Speaking of inter-regional ties, the ambassador highlighted national parks and recreation as a promising area of cooperation. In particular, he mentioned an agreement made between Russia's Republic of Yakutia and Canada's Elk Island National Park in December 2019 to transfer a fourth batch of bison to Russia.
Another aspect of such cooperation is contacts between the indigenous peoples of the North. The two countries are exchanging experience and jointly developing new approaches to solving similar ethno-social problems facing the northern territories of Russia and Canada.