Norway Undecided about Participation at Russia’s Arctic Conference

The Norwegian MFA confirms that no decision has been made about whether Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide or any other government representative will attend the conference in Arkhangelsk in April. (Archive photo: Mats Grimsæth/Norwegian Armed Forces)
At last year’s conference “The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue” in Arkhangelsk, Russia, both then-Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin attended the event. However, whether the present Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide or another representative from the Norwegian government will attend this year’s event in April remains open.


At last year’s conference "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue" in Arkhangelsk, Russia, both then-Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin attended the event. However, whether the present Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide or another representative from the Norwegian government will attend this year’s event in April remains open.

Nor is it known whether any North Norwegian politicians will attend.

The International Arctic Forum has been organized in Arkhangelsk since 2010 and Russian President Vladimir Putin has attended the event every year.

In 2017, then-Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende attended the event and met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the first time on Russian soil since 2014

Also read: Lavrov with Svalbard objections when meeting Brende 

When this year’s event takes place in Arkhangelsk on April 9th and 10th, the theme is "The Arctic – Territory of Dialogue". A series of heads of state, foreign ministers, researchers and business leaders from countries holding an interest in the High North will attend. 

The forum has attracted a series of Norwegian politicians in previous years, and last year’s event was amongst others attended by the Troms County Councilor as well as the by the Chair of the Norwegian Parliament’s delegation to the Parliamentary Arctic Cooperation.

 

75 years since the liberation of Finnmark County

There is great interest in whether local politicians from Northern Norway will attend the conference as 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Finnmark County (in Northern Norway).

There is no confirmation so far regarding whether Norway again will be represented, either by Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide or by another government representative.

“Given the ongoing NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Norway, official Norwegian participation at the conference will be an opportunity for Norway to underline its maintaining of the balance between dialogue with and deterrence against Russia”, the independent international communications agency NW Advisors say in a press statement.

The agency was established in Russia in 2005 and works with promoting leading companies globally. It currently has 28 offices world wide. 

Also read: NATO Secretary-General visits the USS Harry S. Truman 

Too soon, says Norwegian MFA

The NW Advisors press release further states that major investments in the development of Arkhangelsk infrastructure are under consideration, following the decision to make the town the permanent home of the conference. The conference organisers’ ambition is to become a ‘leading forum for Arctic issues among decision-makers’.

High North News has contacted the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a comment on the potential attendance from Norwegian government representatives, but received the following comment:

- The event is still some time into the future and no decision on this has been made yet, says communications advisor Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde.

- I am glad you have come to your senses! That was how Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov greeted his then-Norwegian counterpart Børge Brende when they met in Arkhangelsk at last year’s conference. (Archive photo: Arne O. Holm)
- I am glad you have come to your senses! That was how Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov greeted his then-Norwegian counterpart Børge Brende when they met in Arkhangelsk at last year’s conference. (Archive photo: Arne O. Holm)

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