10 February, 10:20

Putin has beer with Dutch king, speaks about Sochi Games features

Russian President Vladimir Putin has paid a visit to the Dutch Beer House in Sochi. After the president had congratulated Russian athletes on winning gold in team figure skating at the Sochi Iceberg arena, he went to the Holland House to speak with the Dutch king and queen and sport fans.

"Do you have any problems or questions?" Putin asked King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The king said there were no problems and everything was organized perfectly.

The Russian president was offered a beer, and the king said cheers. The sides conferred on the organization of the Sochi Games. Putin said that the entire winter sport infrastructure was left behind in former Soviet republics and Sochi did not have winter sport facilities at all. The king lauded the newly built facilities.

The queen of the Netherlands praised Sochi Games volunteers. She told Putin that the volunteers were amazing and he could be proud of each of them. The volunteers are smiling, eager to help and practically run after visitors with broad sincere smiles on their faces, she said.

Putin told the Dutch royal couple about how the training of volunteers had been organized. In his words, the volunteers came from various regions of Russia and they were both young and aged. Special centers were opened to coach the volunteers, he said. The president said also he had just visited the Iceberg arena where Russian athletes had won gold in team figure skating.

"We have just won gold in figure skating, the Canadians won silver, and the Americans won bronze," he said. The king and the queen asked the president about his future plans. "I am going back to Moscow tomorrow night, but I will return to Sochi next week," Putin said, adding that he also planned to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics.

While the president was walking out of the Holland House, the house was entered by Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust who won her third Olympic champion's title on Sunday. She took gold in the 3,000 meters. Russian speedskater Olga Graf won the first Russian medal in the Sochi Games in that event; she took bronze.

Putin cordially congratulated the Dutch athlete and asked about her impression from the Sochi Games organization. "Are there any problems?" he asked. No, everything is fantastic, Wust responded.

Russian president, Dutch king confident Russia, all problems can be resolved in spirit of friendship

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is glad the visit by the Dutch king to Russia has taken place "despite certain frictions in the diplomatic service".

During a meeting with Dutch King Willem-Alexander in the Aleksanrdovsky Hall of the Kremlin, Putin said the visit has taken place during the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Russian-Dutch relations.

"We have this royal resource for the development of our relations," Putin said.

The Dutch king thanked Putin for receiving the Dutch delegation during the celebrations, adding that "everything can be resolved in the spirit of friendship".

Putin replied: "I have no doubts about that".

The Kremlin earlier reported that the problems that have recently emerged in Russian-Dutch relations will not be addressed during the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Dutch King Willem-Alexander on Friday, but may be discussed by the ministers accompanying the president and the Monarch.

Vladimir Putin meets king of Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands have arrived in Russia on a 2-day visit. On Friday night the king met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The King of the Netherlands expressed hope that all differences will be settled in the spirit of friendship, with which the Russian president agreed.

No details of the dialogue between the two heads of the states have been released so far. According to the available information, the detention of Greenpeace activists is not to be discussed during the meeting.

The Dutch king's visit coincides with the closing of the cultural year of Russia in the Netherlands and of the Netherlands in Russia. This year was ceremonially opened by the two leaders in April during Putin’s visit to Amsterdam.

Russia, Netherlands cite common approach to environmental policy in Arctic

Russian Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Sergei Donskoi, and Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister, Lilianne Ploumen, discussed cooperation in the area of environmental protection and rational resource development at a meeting held on of the eve of the eighth meeting of the Russia-Netherlands intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation.

The ministers also discussed the two countries' policies concerning the development of oil and gas fields in the Arctic, including compliance with environmental standards.

Russia's Natural Resources Ministry said the ministers "noted the common approaches of Russia and the Netherlands to the preservation of the Arctic environment, and determination to strengthen multidimensional and constructive cooperation within the context of the Arctic Council".

They also noted the positive experience of cooperation in the course of environmental support for the construction of the offshore section of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

Donskoi briefed meeting participants on changes to legislation regulating upstream companies on Russia's continental shelf that ensure the necessary measures are taken to prevent accidents.

The minister stressed the practical importance of the legally binding agreement on cooperation in responding to oil spills in the Arctic that was signed by all countries in the region at the eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden on May 15, 2013.

Donskoi said Russia is interested in studying the Netherlands' experience in preparing strategic environmental assessments for projects to develop fields within the context of the requirements of the Espoo Convention's Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment.

The Natural Resources Ministry is now considering harmonizing Russia's legal standards with the provisions of this document, he said.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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