“It is important that the Nordic countries keep their focus on the north”, says Norway’s Defense Minister Espen Barth Eide, one of the hosts for the ministers that are gathered in the northern Norwegian town of Bodø this week. “Our most important strategic interests lie in the north. We have enormous areas and resources here, and we see that this part of the world gets more and more important when it comes to transport, natural resources and tourism”, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s web site reads.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland and Ministers of Defense from all the countries except Iceland – which does not have any military forces, are all gathered in Bodø these days.
“It is almost a historic event that we have the Nordic family gathered here in Bodø”, says Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre. “It is the first time the wish for a closer cooperation on defense and foreign policy will be discussed on such a high level.
The main issue up for discussions is the players in the development of the High North. Another important theme will be the consequences of the economic crisis on the cooperation on security policy in Europe, Nordic military cooperation on equipment and exercises and international crisis management.
The aim of the meeting is to find a joint Nordic basis for the further development of the High North and to discuss possible models for cooperation within defense and foreign policy. Three years ago Norway’s former Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg published a report touching on 13 fields of potential cooperation, with the Arctic as a key focus.
There are no plans to establish any new alliances, says Espen Barth Eide: “Some of us are allied in NATO, some have their primary connection to the EU. But I would say that the Nordic cooperation will mean a strengthening of both organizations”, he says to NRK.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.