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Russian Federation : Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the sidelines of the Eurasia Global International Youth Forum, Orenburg.

We are holding todays offsite briefing in Orenburg, which is hosting the Eurasia Global International Youth Forum from August 12 to 18. The forum is organised by the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, the Government of the Orenburg Region and the Youth Resource Centre, a federal publicly funded institution.

I had an opportunity to speak at the forum and talk with its participants today. Besides Russian citizens, there are also representatives of over 100 countries, and their questions mainly concerned the international agenda. So we had a little rehearsal already today. Our discussion of international issues continued for two hours. I enjoyed it very much, it was great. It seemed to me that the audience found it interesting too. We have established a good relationship with the forum and are prepared to support it in every way. We are thankful for the attention to our work here.

This forum is an annual platform for dialogue between youth organisations that foster engagement and cooperation. The programme includes a wide range of topics: Social Project Planning, Culture and Arts, New Media and a practical component for participants from the CIS countries.

The Orenburg Region is a fast-growing constituent entity of the Russian Federation. It has rich natural resources, a very efficient agrarian sector and a diverse transport and energy infrastructure while its financial and lending institutions are developing dynamically. With its geographical location, the region plays an important strategic role to the southeast of Russia, as it lies between Europe and Asia. Many people travel here to see the region that connects these two continents of the world, two geographical and cultural spaces. I was told in my childhood that this point was a border, whereas today it seems to symbolise a connection. This, at least, can be said of our foreign policy objectives and it is what a number of regional organisations and institutions, as well as countries in the region are seeking to achieve.

To maintain its international relations, the Orenburg Region has signed 29 cooperation agreements with other countries. Its economy is integrated into the global economy, with over 80 countries among its trading partners.

The regions foreign trade has shown positive dynamics in recent years. In 2018, it totaled some $3.4 billion.

Exports are dominated by fuel, energy and ferrous metals. Engineering products, chemicals, ferrous metal and fuel and energy products account for much of the regions imports.

Key partners include Kazakhstan, the United States, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, China, Hungary, the Netherlands, Turkey, Lithuania, Tajikistan and Japan.

There are 364 companies in the region that have attracted investment from 39 countries. Their core activities are industrial and agricultural production, construction, transportation, communications, trade and services. Despite the introduction of economic sanctions by the Western countries, some European companies are not only maintaining existing partnership relations with the region but they are also contemplating the possibility of expanding their operations here.

The Orenburg Region, with its vast potential for promoting health and wellness tourism, attaches great importance to carrying out an investment project to create the Salt Lakes tourism and recreation cluster in the city of Sol-Iletsk. The Orenburgsky State Nature Reserve has good prospects for developing ecotourism, including tours to study the unique steppe flora and fauna. The Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Population of Przewalskis Horses, which we all remember from our school text-books, was created on the basis of this nature reserve.

As for the cultural part of humanitarian cooperation with foreign countries, there are National Culture Days, memorial events and themed exhibitions. The East & West: Classical and Avant-Garde Art International Film Festival and the Gostiny Dvor Theatre Festival are annual events that draw performers and cultural figures from various countries.

People of 126 nationalities live in the Orenburg Region with its unique National Village cultural complex, which is popular with visitors who can learn about the history, culture and daily life of the largest ethnic groups.

The annual Orenburg Region the Heart of Eurasia International Economic Forum is an important international event, which is attended by the authorities, members of the business community, leading Eurasian Economic Commission experts and civil society leaders from abroad, including the CIS countries. The forum highlights the special role the Orenburg Region plays as a popular EAEU integration forum.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Aug 16, 2019
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