US Embassy Reopened Office in Northern Norway After Almost 30 Years

Åpning av USAs ambassadepost i Tromsø.
The US opened an office in Tromsø, after having been close since 1994. The US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Elizabeth M. Allen (to the right) gave a speech. Tromsø Mayor Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Labor) to the right, followed by State Secretary Eivind Vad Petersson (Labor) from the Norwegian MFA and the US Ambassador to Norway, Marc Nathanson. (Photo: the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

On Friday, the US Embassy reopened the Tromsø office after nearly 30 years. The climate crisis is the biggest challenge, says US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Elizabeth M. Allen.

On Friday, the US opened a new office in Tromsø. The American ambassador Marc Nathanson was present, together with Norwegian State Secretary Eivind Vad Petersson (Labor) from the MFA, the US Under Secretary of State Elisabeth M. Allen (D), and Tromsø Mayor Gunnar Wilhelmsen (Labor).

US had an office in Tromsø until 1994.

"It is crucial to focus more on the Arctic and the North," says Nathanson to NRK when asked why they are opening the Tromsø office.

Climate crisis most important

Allen also highlights climate change as an important reason for why USA is opening the office.

"It is obvious that Arctic is important because of geopolitics and competitiveness, but the climate crisis is actually the biggest challenge," Allen says to NRK.

A demonstration of our close partnership with Norway.
The US Ambassador to Norway, Marc Nathanson

She also states that they are keeping an eye on what Russia is doing but that the US does not want an over-militarized Arctic region.

Symbolic significance

Eivind Vad Petersson says to NRK that the Tromsø office is symbolically important, showing how central Tromsø, the Arctic, and the High North are.

The American MFA Antony Blinken announced in June that the US planned to establish an American representation in Tromsø.

The new office will have an American diplomat and will be a so-called American Presence Post, a smaller diplomatic and consular American presence abroad.

The US' northernmost diplomatic office

The office in Tromsø will contribute to the close cooperation between the US and Norway about the countries' joint management of the Arctic region.

The US shares the vision of the Arctic continuing to be characterized by stability and peaceful cooperation, wrote the US Embassy in Oslo in a press release this summer.

"The opening of the office in Tromsø, the US' northernmost diplomatic station, and the only one above the Arctic Circle, is yet another demonstration of our close partnership with Norway and our interest in this important region, whose importance will only grow in the coming decades. The US is a proud Arctic state and takes our role seriously as one of the region's managers," said the US Ambassador to Norway, Marc Nathanson.

"Norway and the US share a long and proud history of close cooperation on Arctic matters. I welcome the US' plans to establish a new representative office in Tromsø this year, which I am sure will strengthen our close cooperation further," the then Norwegian MFA Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor).

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