Newsletter: A Diplomatic Work of Art

Norges ambassadør for Arktis, Morten Høglund.
Morten Høglund is Norway's ambassador for the Arctic and represents Norway in the Arctic Council as Senior Arctic Official. (Photo: Hilde Bye / High North News).

Dear reader: On Thursday, Norway peacefully took over the Arctic Council baton from a neighbor at war which has been banned from the council since the beginning of the war. Researchers have praised the process and Norway's Arctic Ambassador says diplomacy has returned to the Arctic. This is the week as seen from the north.

On Thursday, Norway took over the Chairship of the Arctic Council from Russia. 

"The future of the council and cooperation within this format under Norwegian chairship appear uncertain," said Nikolay Korchunov, Russian Arctic Ambassador, to High North News on the day before. 

However, not long after the meeting between the Russian Chair of the Arctic Council and Arctic Officials from the seven western Arctic states, a unanimous council issued a joint statement. 

Russia's Arctic Official states that Russia will stay in The Arctic Council as long as it serves their Interests. 

Researchers believe that Norway's takeover is a diplomatic work of art (Norwegian only) and that there are actors on the Russian side that are interested in the continuation of cooperation within the council as well  

A rambling presidential candidate 

After a period of stable cooperation with the US, the Nordic defense risks encountering some turbulence. 

“The Norweigan Defense Commission is putting our fate in the hands of a head of state who does not believe in democracy and who is unable to distance himself from Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine,"  writes Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm in this week's commentary. 

He is of course referring to Donald Trump moving at full speed toward a possible American presidency. 

Earlier this week, the maritime live-fire exercise began off Andøya in Northern Norway. Our journalist Astri Edvardsen was allowed to board the Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp as it docked in Bodø before the exercise broke loose. (Norwegian only) 

Stricter sanctions 

The Norwegian government reminds us of of stricter sanctions against Russia and that only emergency repairs of Russian fishing vessels are allowed in Norway. That could affect the cornerstone company Kimek in Kirkenes.

Following the UK earlier in 2023, the Netherlands has begun phasing out liquefied natural gas from the Russian Arctic. 

Finally, some news from Svalbard: 

On the occasion of Liberation Dag on the 8th of May, 50 vehicles and one helicopter took part in a larger-than-usual parade in the Russian settlement of Barentsburg on Svalbard. (Norwegian only)

Read about this and more at High North News.

Feel free to share our newsletter with other interested parties. 

Wishing you a wonderful May weekend on behalf of the editorial staff, 

News Editor Trine Jonassen

This newsletter has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.