A conference on cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region took place in Kirkenes, Norway, on 11 January 1993. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs or representatives of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the Commission of the European Communities participated in the conference, which was also attended by observers from the United States of America, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

The Participants expressed their conviction that expanded cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region will contribute substantially to stability and progress in the area and in Europe as a whole, where partnership is now replacing the confrontation and division of the past. The Participants felt that such cooperation will contribute to international peace and security.

The Participants saw the Barents cooperation initiative as part of the process of evolving European cooperation and integration, which has been given a new dimension with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. They considered the establishment of a Council of the Baltic Sea States in Copenhagen in March 1992 as a further contribution to strengthening regional cooperation in Europe. They also stated their conviction that the establishment of closer cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region will be an important contribution to the new European architecture, providing closer ties between the Northern parts of Europe and the rest of the European continent.

The Participants expressed support for the ongoing process of reform in Russia which aims inter alia at strengthening democracy, market reforms, and local institutions, and which is therefore important for closer regional cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.

The Participants expressed their desire to support the longstanding aspirations of the peoples in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region for friendship and cooperation, and stressed the fundamental significance of the historical changes caused by the end of ideological and military confrontation in Europe. They welcomed the initial steps that have been taken at the local and regional level to expand cooperation, in particular, the establishment of an interregional working group by counties in Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. They expressed their appreciation for the valuable work carried out by the northernmost counties of Finland, Norway and Sweden in the "Nordkalottkomiteen" during the past two decades. They took note of the report from the Expert Conference on the Region in Kirkenes on 2527 September, 1992. They also took note of the October 1992 International Expert Conference on the Northern Sea Route in Tromso, Norway.

The full Kirkenes Declaration

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