Oslo’s military activity and NATO infrastructure’s movement closer to the Russian borders may adversely impact the Arctic region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday during online talks with his Norwegian counterpart, Ine Eriksen Soreide.
“The Russian side stressed that Norway’s increased military activity and the movement of NATO’s infrastructure to our birder are fraught with negative consequences for the Arctic. Hope was expressed that traditional good neighborly relations between our countries will be revived,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
Apart from that, the Russian top diplomat drew attention of his Norwegian counterpart to the worsening security situation in the Far North. “The sides discussed the entire spectrum of issues of bilateral relations, which now leave much to be desired. The Russian side pointed to the ungrounded accusations against Russia of staging cyberattack, spy scandals and the worsened situation in the sphere of security in the Far North, including in the Russian-Norwegian border zone,” the ministry said, adding that the Russian foreign minister called on Oslo to begin dialogue with Moscow to remove its concerns about Norway’s commitment to the 1920 Svalbard, or Spitsbergen, Treaty.
The ministers also discussed the current agenda of the UN Security Council, where Norway is a non-permanent member in 2021-2022. Among the topics discussed was the situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and other countries. The ministers reiterated mutual commitment to constructive joint work within the United Nations Security Council.
“The sides noted positive dynamics of cooperation in regional formats, such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, where Norway currently holds presidency, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Northern Dimension. Russia is set for active cooperation with Norwegian partners within the Arctic Council, including in the light of our country’s presidency in it in 2021-2023, as a key platform for collective decisions on the Arctic-related matters,” the ministry said, recalling that Russia will hand over presidency in the Arctic Council to Norway in 2023.
The sides stressed the necessity of overcoming negative dynamics in the trade-and-economic cooperation and expanding sectoral ties.