The 26th Annual Russian-American Pacific-Partnership (RAPP) was held July 27-29 virtually via Zoom. RAPP is a bilateral forum that brings together representatives of business, federal and local governments, and non-governmental organizations to discuss areas of mutual concern and opportunities for cooperation within the geography of Eastern Russia, the Western US, and the Arctic. Featured speakers included Aleksey Chekunkov, Minister of the Russian Federation for the Development of the Far East and Arctic, John Sullivan, US Ambassador to Russia, Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to the US, James DeHart, US Coordinator for the Arctic Region, Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federations, and Tom Armbruster, retired US Ambassador and former Consul General at Vladivostok.
Derek Norberg, president of the Council for US-Russia relations and organizer of the RAPP, noted, “We are encouraged by the high level of representation by the federal and regional/state governments at this year’s RAPP meeting indicative of strong interest in strengthening our interregional dialogue. The topics discussed at this year’s meeting provides a wide range of opportunities to expand cooperation for mutual interest benefit. While challenges remain in the bilateral relationship, we are optimistic about our trans-Pacific relations in the RAPP forum”. Norberg looks forward to a resumption of in-person meetings in 2022.
Numerous companies and organizations participated in the event, including the Alaska Airmen’s Association, the Association of Light Aviation of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Bering Straits Native Corporation, Exxon Neftegas, the Northern Forum, the United States Arctic Research Commission, the Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia (ERINA), the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Russia-United States InterCountry Committee of Rotary International, InterAviation Japan and InterPacific Aviation and Marketing.
The Arctic, climate change, air and marine transportation, scientific cooperation, travel/tourism and indigenous affairs were foremost among the topics discussed. Several presenters addressed the importance of developing light aviation within and between the regions, and the necessity of integrating long distance and regional air services. Representatives of the Russian Far East regions of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Republic of Buryatia, Primorsky Krai, Khabarovsky Krai, Kamchatsky Krai, Chukotka Autonomous Region and the Sakhalin Region discussed the opportunities for investment and tourism development in their respective regions. The US state governments of Washington and Alaska also participated.
The 26th annual meeting of the Russian-American Pacific Partnership concluded after lively discussions covering a wide range of topics. Recommendations to advance bilateral and mutually beneficial cooperation will be issued in the coming weeks.
In its August 5, 2021 briefing, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs remarked, “As before, the forum’s events were held in an emphatically friendly atmosphere. This once again confirms the mutual demand for such a unique platform as RAPP, as well as the interest of the parties in solving specific practical tasks that are important for the peoples of both countries. For our part, we will continue to support the organizers and participants of the Russian-American Pacific Partnership.”
Visit the website of the Council for US-Russia Relations to learn more about RAPP and the Council, and watch the video recording of the 26th Annual RAPP meeting.