- What is most important to us right now is to have a both predictable and very clear policy on Russia, Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told Reuters ahead of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California.
- The earlier and the clearer the new administration comes out on this, the better it is, also for European security, Søreide said to Reuters.
The plea comes as Russia works on new military bases and airfields in the Arctic, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
The Independent reports that the Defence Minister said Norway was concerned by missile tests carried out by Russian forces, equipment upgrades and the deployment of submarines from six Arctic bases.
Reuters quotes Ine Eriksen Søreide as saying “They have been re-establishing their 'bastion' defence concept,” referring to the Soviet Union's Cold War strategy, and that “They have to a great extent demonstrated that this area is even more strategically important to the Russians now than it used to be.”
Strategic "gateway" to the North Atlantic
- They are effectively capable of closing off all allied reinforcements now, which of course is a huge strategic challenge, she said, referring to the so-called GIUK gap that runs between Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
During his campaign, Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “great leader”, and several political commentators have argued that the President-elect has been largely uncritical of his support for both the Syrian President Bashar as-Assad and the intervention in the Ukraine conflict – two of the key issues generating discord with US President Barack Obama’s administration.
NATO has called on Mr. Trump to continue his predecessor’s commitment to the intergovernmental military alliance, after Mr. Trump raised fears he would withdraw the crucial American funding for NATO.
The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg raised her concerns in a phone call with the President-Elect last week, and according to The Independent Ms. Søreide said Trump reassured Solberg about the United States’ commitment to the NATO alliance and common security.
The annual Reagan National Defense Forum is North America’s premier gathering for defense and national security experts. Each year, the forum brings together hundreds of leaders and key stakeholders in the defense community — including members of the Congress, civilian officials and military leaders from the Defense Department and industry. The 2016 Forum was held on 2-3 December at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.