Søreide: - Northern Stability Not A Given

- Stabiliteten og samarbeidet i nord er et resultat av de arktiske statenes harde politiske arbeid, sier utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreide. (Foto: Arne F. Finne).

Utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreide er en av 13 fra det offisielle Norge som skal delta på ministermøtet i Arktisk Råd neste uke. (Foto: Arne F. Finne)

- The High North’s character of cooperation and stability is not a given. It is the result of hard political work from all sides.

Those were the words of Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide during the Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø this week. The Foreign Minister emphasised that the northern region by and large is characterised by cooperation and stability.

Hard political work

- Not all regions in the world can be characterised in that way, Søreide said, stressing that it is a result of "hard political work".

- It is about the political decision we make, and it is about the eight Arctic states having an interest in keeping tension low and cooperation going within a stable framework.

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The Arctic states share a series of challenges, and there are many issues we cannot solve on our own, one by one country, Søreide said, mentioning the Norwegian-Russian management of the Barents Sea cod stock as an example of success.

An example to other regions

- This is one of the most successful bilateral cooperations ever to be seen, and it is an example to other regions too of how to actually solve issues where there is a common interest, the Foreign Minister said.

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Ine Eriksen Søreide also stressed the rest of the world’s interest in the Arctic as a challenge to which the Arctic states have to actively relate.

- Non-Arctic states are stakeholders in the Arctic. We must live with that and take it into consideration, in particular with regard to the unique natural environment in the North. That requires that there are laws and regulations to which all obey. It further goes to show the importance of continuing stability and cooperation, Søreide said.

No major changes in High North whitepaper

The government has just started working on a new High North whitepaper, a whitepaper that is scheduled to be presented to the Parliament in the autumn of 2020.

According to FM Søreide, there will not be any major changes.

- There will be a series of updates in some areas, in particular when it comes to infrastructure initiatives, where we will have to look into the connection of various issues and stakes.

Furthermore, climate and environment will of course receive wide attention, and in some areas we will include new initiatives. We note that several research reports indicate that there should be improved attention to the connections between science and business.

I believe that will constitute an important part of the new whitepaper, Ine Eriksen Søreide said.


This article originally appeared in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.