Lavrov: Russia hopes a joint effort will steer Russian-Norwegian relations back to a progressive trajectory
Moscow hopes that relations with Norway will return to a progressive trajectory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
According to the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, Mr. Lavrov will pay a visit to Norway on October 25. In Kirkenes, he will hold talks with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide.
As Mr. Lavrov said in his article for the Norwegian Aftenposten daily, the dynamically developing cooperation between the two countries has slowed down after the coup d'etat in Ukraine in February 2014. Oslo has joined the anti-Russian sanctions. As a result, entire areas of interaction have been curtailed, which does not meet the core interests of our nations.
He also pointed out that the increasingly active military preparations in areas close to the Russian border were a matter of grave concern for Russia. "Norway is deviating from its ‘basic policy' by deploying in its territory training bases for US and UK military personnel in peacetime, which are allegedly based on the ‘rotation' principle but are in fact permanent facilities. Norway is also increasing its military budget and upgrading the relevant infrastructure," Lavrov stressed.
"In October and November 2018, highly aggressive NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, with the participation of personnel from partner countries was held near the Russian borders. The building up of military activities in the Arctic and the striving to include the region in the area of NANO responsibility, all this is eroding stability and trust," he said.
At the same time, he stated that the two countries managed to maintain dialogue even under the existing circumstances and there were some positive shifts in this regard. He reminded his readers that in April 2019, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg had a meeting within the framework of the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg, which gave an impetus to ties in various areas.
"Related agencies are resuming contacts. Trade is returning to the pre-crisis level; border and inter-regional exchanges are expanding. I hope that by joint efforts we will manage to steer our relations back to a progressive trajectory. This will benefit both our states and citizens, and the entire Euro-Arctic region," the Russian foreign minister wrote.