Policy Areas

Norwegian Policy on the High North – Address by the Foreign Minister

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen addressed the sub-regional conference of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Tromsø om 12 May, focusing on Norwegian Policy on the High North.

18/05/2005 :: Petersen started by stating that “one of my messages today will be that the northern areas will need much more international attention – and international co-operation – in the years to come”, and continued by pointing at the profound changes that have taken place in this areas since the cold war.

An area, which previous was confined by its great strategic military importance, closed borders, and NATO and Soviet forces directly facing each other, is now among the most peaceful corners of Europe. “East-West confrontation has been replaced by East-West co-operation. Conflict has been replaced by a common concern about the challenges we face in the Arctic”, Petersen said.

Thus, security policy issues have receded more into the background, and the definition of security has become much wider. Issues related to the environment and resource management have moved to the foreground of the political agenda.

The further development of the relationship with Russia is of course an essential part of the Norwegian policy, and Petersen stated that Norway “wants to further develop and strengthen the constructive co-operation with our good neighbour and close partner in the north, Russia, both at the bilateral level and through regional forums, such as the Barents and the Arctic Councils”.

Petersen, however, went on by underlining that Norway also wants to establish broad dialogues on northern areas issues with key Western countries and institutions – beginning with the United States, Germany, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the European Commission. The Norwegian intention is that the dialogues will raise awareness on the northern areas issues, as well as promote understanding of our priorities on these issues, which are of great importance to us all.

The whole speech by Mr. Petersen can be found here

Send this article to a friend  
Print version

Jan Petersen, Norwegian Foreign MinisterPhoto: Høyre