Industry Minister, Monica Mæland (Høyre), said it is not appropriate to lift the economic sanctions against Russia yet. But she regards her visit to Russia as important. Mæland is in Moscow on the occasion of the Norwegian-Russian Economic Commission becoming reunited.
Mæland is the first Norwegian minister to visit Moscow after Norway and the western countries broke most political contact after the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, and the conflict in Ukraine in 2014.
‘This commission work is the most important meeting point between Norwegian and Russian authorities, and it is very important that we see each other face to face to go through the different issues,’ said Monica Mæland to NRK news.
Mæland emphasised that it is vital that the political connection be resumed at the Commission level.
In June last year, Fisheries Minister, Per Sandberg of Fremskrittspartiet (Frp) attended a fisheries conference in St. Petersburg, and at the end of March this year, Foreign Minister Børge Brende (Høyre) met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Arkhangelsk in connection to a conference on the Arctic region.
But Mæland is also very clear that this does not mean it is appropriate to lift the Western sanctions against Russia yet, sanctions to which elements of the Norwegian business community have been critical.
‘It is important for us to be clear about the sanction policy. We are a small country and have a big and powerful neighbour. In that situation, it is important that together with friends in the EU, and the United States, we respond to violations of international law’, Mæland said on Wednesday in a speech to the Norwegian business representatives who participated in a reception at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today