Argues that NRCC sends out unfortunate signals

Russia holds the key to a solution to the conflict in the Ukraine and to a reduction of the restrictive measures, State Secretary Marit Berger Røsland (Conservatives) writes in her response to the Chairwoman of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce. The picture shows Røsland photographed in Reykjavik fall 2016. (Photo: Linda Storholm)
State Secretary Marit Berger Røsland of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs argues that the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce sends out ‘unfortunate’ signals.

- I appreciate the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to promote trade and cooperation with Russia. However, its recent letter begs a series of questions about the NRCC’s view on the current restrictive measures.

- In a time where we have to stand up clearly for international rule of law, this sends out an unfortunate signal.

That is what State Secretary Marit Berger Røsland of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in response to Liv Monica Stubholt’s letter in Norwegian daily Aftenposten recently, in which she reflects on the practical results of how the current sanctions against Russia work. Stubholt is Chairperson of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce.

The NRCC will again encourage both countries to engage diplomatically in order to build a foundation for decreasing the sanctions, Stubholt writes.

- Norway’s export to Russia is at about two – 2 – billion Norwegian kroner. It should be 15 billion, Stubholt said to High North News in February. 

The last few years have seen a significant decrease in Norwegian-Russian trade.

- Norwegian exports to Russia has decreased 74.5 percent measured in Norwegian kroner, and 82 percent measured in US Dollars for the period 2013-2016, Russian Ambassador to Norway Teimuraz O. Ramishvili said in this interview

Russia wants to restore normal relations to Norway.

- Russia is a topic that engages and provokes. That is a good sign, Røsland said in March when addressing the attendees of a breakfast meeting with the NRCC and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. 

In her response to NRCC Chairperson Stubholt, she asks whether the Chamber of Commerce thinks that Norway and Russia carry an equal responsibility for creating a foundation for reducing the restrictive measures.

- There is good reason for reminding about why those restrictive measures have been introduced and what it will take for them to be reduced. Norway joins a broad group of allies and partners in their reactions to Russia’s breaking public international law in the Ukraine. The restrictive measures concern the Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and stability. The core is public international law. Norway has condemned Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Russia’s behavior in Eastern Ukraine still gives reason to deep concerns.

Today, Norway has sanctions and restrictive measures in place against 25 different countries.

- Targeted economic sanctions and restrictions have become an all the more common tool when the international society handles threats against peace, security and the rule of law. This is vital for a small country with an open economy, Røsland says.

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