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International Space Station Sends Message to US-Russian Fort Ross Dialogue

Fort Ross, CA, July 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Press and Media Invitation to Fort Ross Dialogue Monday July 29 - RSVP by Sunday July 28

Note: Press Release Embargoed until 0900 PT Monday July 29

To RSVP or for further information, contact Sarah Sweedler at Sarahs@fortross.org or 415 203-7393

The folowing press release will be released on Monday July 29:

Fort Ross , CA , July 29: Today the inaugural session of the US-Russian Fort Ross Dialogue received a special message from Russian astronauts on the International Space Station, who expressed hope that the Dialogue will "signal a new phase in the development of long-term US-Russia relations and make a tangible contribution to the successful outcome of the upcoming US-Russia Summit."

The Russian crew of the 36th space mission - Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Space Engineers Alexander Misurkin and Fedor Yurchikhin - said that "for as many as two hundred years Fort Ross reminds us of how vast US-Russia historic opportunities could be when we act in concert towards a common goal. The international space station is a stark case in point." The full text of their message appears at the close of this release.

Russian and US government, business and academic delegations agreed on July 30, 2012, at the Fort Ross Bicentennial Conference at Russian River Valley in Sonoma, California, to the proposal oif President Putin's special envoy for international cultural cooperation, Ambassador Mikhail Shvydkoy, and Russia's Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, to launch an annual or biennial US-Russian "Fort Ross Dialogue" to promote stronger US-Russian bilateral relations in the context of the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission and the increasingly important Pacific dimension of US-Russian relations. This July, the inaugural session of the Dialogue, attended by US and Russian government, business and academic leaders, takes place at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa and is open to press and media (contact information above).

Hosting the Bicentennial Conference and the Dialogue is the Fort Ross Conservancy, a non-profit citizens organization dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Fort Ross, the southernmost Russian settlement in the Americas established on the California coast 89 miles north of the San Francisco Bay Area and operated by the legendary Russian-American Company from 1812 to 1842. This year the Dialogue will focus on the special dimensions of the Pacific, energy, trade and investment, culture and exchanges - all in the context of the Bilateral Presidential Commission co-chaired by Presidents Obama and Putin.

Co-sponsoring the Bicentennial Weekend and Conference last year and the Fort Ross Festival Weekend and Dialogue this year are the US and Russian companies Chevron, Transneft and Sovcomflot, who partner closely in the CPC pipeline from Kazakhstan through Russia to the Black Sea and in petroleum shipping worldwide.

The Russian government delegation will be led by the Secretary to the Bilateral Presidential Commission, Ambassador Vladimir Vinokurov; who served previously as Russia's Consul General in San Francisco; the Russian Ambassador to the US in Washington, Sergey Kislyak; and joined by the Governor of Vologda Region Oleg Kuvshinnikov; Foreign Ministry Deputy Director for Humanitarian Cooperation, Mikhail Khorev; and Energy Ministry international relations chief Alexander Abramov. The US government delegation will be led by Acting International Program Coordinator Maureen Cormack and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Robert Cekuta, and joined by Energy Department Senior Advisor Paul Tumminia and State Department Chief Economist for Russia and Eurasia Judy Kuo.

Business delegation leaders will be Advisor to the President of Transneft, Vyacheslav Skvortsov; Senior Executive Vice President of Sovcomflot, Nikolai Kolesnikov; and Chevron's Vice President for Global Business Development, Jay Pryor. Outside experts include John Beyrle and James Collins, former US Ambassadors to Russia; Ambassador Collins directs the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, joined by Dr. Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian Council of International Relations and by Dr. Matthew Rojansky, Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars in Washington, DC.

In announcing the inaugural Fort Ross Dialogue, Sarah Sweedler, President and CEO of the Fort Ross Conservancy, said, "We welcome such distinguished Russian and American speakers to discuss Fort Ross and current and future relations between our two countries. Following our Festival Weekend, it will give both countries the opportunity to put Fort Ross in the wider context of US-Russian relations and policy opportunities. We are grateful to Chevron, Transneft and Sovcomflot for their strong, continued support of Fort Ross, including their underwriting of a documentary film in English and Russian and their lead co-sponsorship of the Bicentennial and Festival events."

In announcing Transneft's support, President and CEO Nikolai P. Tokarev said, "Fort Ross occupies a special place in Russia's heritage. It represents the best of the long cooperation between our two countries and peoples, and Transneft welcomes the chance to co-sponsor the Fort Ross Festival Weekend and Dialogue."

In announcing Sovcomflot's support, President and CEO Sergey O. Frank said, "The story of Fort Ross is the story of intrepid Russian sailors and explorers coming from Siberia to Alaska and California - and forging trade cooperation with the peoples they found there. We at Sovcomflot, Russia's commercial shipping company, find it highly fitting to join with Chevron and Transneft in co-sponsoring the Fort Ross Dialogue and Festival Weekend."

In response, Chevron's Vice President for Business Development, Jay R. Pryor, said "We are delighted to co-sponsor the Fort Ross Dialogue and Festival Weekend with Transneft and Sovcomflot. Fort Ross is the perfect story of Russia's historic contribution to the trade and cooperation of our two peoples, and Chevron is proud to join with our longtime Russian partners to be a small and continuing part of that story."

Following is the full text of the message to the Fort Ross Dialogue from the Russian astronauts on the International Space Station, Commander Vinogradov and Space Engineers Misurkin and Yurchikin:

"Friends!

Flying in space over two hundred miles away from you we are sending our best regards to all participants of the Fort Ross Russia-US Dialogue and Conference taking place these days on the California's northern coast.

For as many as two hundred years Fort Ross reminds us of how vast US-Russia historic opportunities could be when we act in concert towards a common goal. The international space station is a stark case in point.

Early in September the Presidents of our two nations will meet again in Saint Petersburg to focus on issues of mutual collaboration. We wish that Fort Ross Russia-US Dialogue would signal a new phase in the development of long-term US-Russia relations and make a tangible contribution to the successful outcome of the upcoming US-Russia Summit.

The crew of 36th space mission - Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Space Engineers Alexander Misurkin and Fedor Yurchikhin "

Program for the Fort Ross Conference: http://www.fortross.org/dialogue.pdf

CONTACT: Sarah Sweedler Sarahs@fortross.org 415 203-7393 Source:Fort Ross Conservancy