Norwegian Foreign Ministry: Oslo continues cooperation with Moscow
Norway froze its military cooperation with Russia amid the sanctions, but continues to cooperate in the nuclear field, Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said on Wednesday at the Kirkenes Conference.
"We have frozen our military cooperation with Russia, but we continue to cooperate in other areas, such as the environment, nuclear safety, search and rescue operations," the minister said, responding to a question about how the EU sanctions have affected cooperation with Russia.
According to the minister, Norway wants to maintain its neighborly relations and practical cooperation with Russia.
"Cooperation between the two countries should develop in the interests of the people living on both sides of the border. It is necessary to strive to maintain good practical interaction [with Russia] and the traditions of neighborliness," the foreign minister said.
According to Søreide, the countries should support dialogue, discuss disagreements, and not allowing politics to influence contact between residents of the two countries and the long traditions of people's diplomacy.
"We continue to interact with Russia in those areas where we have successfully cooperated before. For instance, the Arctic Council, which is an excellent example of how such cooperation can be organized. A good idea for strengthening and expanding cooperation would be to take the example from Sweden, marking the 25th anniversary since the beginning of international youth conferences. We should mention that Norway and Russia have excellent traditions of long and successful cooperation in marine resource management, ocean protection and sustainable development of marine economy," she added.
She stressed the importance of business, cultural and scientific cross-border projects, which are funded by Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. According to the minister, one of the long-term goals of the Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to work with Russia to make it easier for businesses and organizations from Norway and Russia to work together.
"At the moment, we are concerned that the legal atmosphere in the Russian Federation is becoming more complex, which means greater risk when doing business in Russia, which discourages the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs," the minister said. "Nevertheless, we can only expect improvement in this direction, because our region depends on close cooperation and cross-border exchanges. For many years, mutual trust has been established between peoples of our countries, which is an excellent basis [for the development of relations]."