On December 8 at Moscow City Hall, Premier Jean Charest and the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, signed a joint cooperation declaration aimed at developing bilateral relations. The leaders thus expressed their desire to build closer economic, cultural and educational ties, among other ways through exchanges of people and knowledge.
Accompanied by Minister of International Relations Pierre Arcand, Jean Charest is leading a delegation of businesspeople on a mission to Russia, at the invitation of the City of Moscow. This is the first time that a mission to Russia has been led by a Québec premier.
In the words of Premier Charest, “This declaration lays the foundation for a long-term relationship between Russia and Québec. The creation of a Québec-Moscow joint cooperation committee that will meet on a regular basis will enable the tangible development of bilateral relations in various sectors, favour closer ties between citizens of Moscow and Québec and offer economic opportunities for our businesses.”
Under the heading of economic development, the declaration is also aimed at exchanges of experience and information in the fields of industrial production, science, the environment, urban and territorial planning, waste management and economic system operation in winter conditions. Moscow’s infrastructure needs in areas like waste processing and water treatment and the retrofitting of its subway system mean business opportunities for Québec companies in Russia and a chance to forge links between centres of excellence in Québec and Moscow.
The joint declaration is also aimed at extending and bolstering cooperation in the areas of culture, education, and heritage conservation and enhancement. Moscow has a very lively cultural scene, and the declaration will reinforce the increasingly active presence in Moscow of Québec cultural enterprises.
In addition to signing the joint declaration, Premier Charest met with Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister, Viktor Zubkov, during the first day of the mission. Accompanied by Québec businesspeople, he also spoke during a forum and seminar on Russian infrastructure and modernization.