Norway turns down Russian offer to hold consultations on Spitsbergen
Norway has declined the proposal of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to hold consultations on the Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Archipelago. However, Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Audun Halvorsen called bilateral relations constructive and transparent.
We reply to the inquiries of Russian citizens and companies having interests in Spitsbergen but Norway does not hold consultations on exercising its sovereignty over any part of Norwegian territory, Halvorsen noted.
Earlier in February, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the Norwegian side in connection with the 100th anniversary of signing the Spitsbergen Treaty. In this letter, Sergei Lavrov noted that, under the treaty, Norway must allow all parties to have equal access to the archipelago for economic activity purposes. Lavrov expressed concern over Norwegian restrictions concerning the use of Russian helicopters and a new deportation procedure from Longyearbyen and also called Norway's decision to establish a fish protection zone unlawful.