Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday began a state visit to Norway that is expected to center on a long-standing border dispute in resource-rich Arctic waters.
For decades, Norway and Russia have failed to agree on a maritime border in the Barents Sea, which is rich in fish and a promising oil and gas province.
No breakthrough was expected but Medvedev's visit could help move the talks forward, said Indra Oeverland, a Russia expert at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
Medvedev and his wife were received by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Crown Prince Haakon at Oslo's Gardermoen airport. The couple traveled by motorcade to the royal palace for a ceremonial reception hosted by King Harald V, Norway's figurehead monarch.
Medevedev's visit -- the first by a Russian president since Vladimir Putin came to Norway in 2002 -- coincided with a human rights conference attended by several prominent Russian activists and Kremlin critics.
The Oslo Freedom Forum was taking place in the Oslo hotel where Medvedev was staying but the Russian president was not expected to meet any of the activists, who included chess master-turned-opposition politician Garry Kasparov and Chechen human rights activist Lidia Yusupova.
"In the most epic irony, the president of Russia is staying in the same hotel, a few rooms away from these speakers," said Thor Halvorssen, the founder and president of the annual conference.
Halvorssen said he had asked to meet with Medvedev "for a few minutes" in the lobby of the lavish 19th century hotel to discuss the human rights situation in Russia, but that he hadn't heard back.
On the sidelines of the conference, Yusupova told The Associated Press that she was disappointed by Medvedev's response to recent suicide bombings in Russia blamed on separatists from the country's volatile North Caucasus region.
Like his predecessor, Putin, Medvedev "always talks about annihilating -- 'we are going to annihilate them all.' ... It makes him seem bloodthirsty," she said.
Medvedev was to attend a business seminar later Monday and hold talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg early Tuesday, before departing for Denmark.