The Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg will highlight Norwegian-Russian fisheries management success when he on wednesday will be the first Norwegian Minister to visit Russia after its annexation of Crimea.
– My message would simply be: The world has to learn from the Norwegian-Russian cooperation, Sandberg says .
He will travel to St. Petersburg 8 to 10 June to attend the 21st annual meeting of fisheries ministers of the the North Atlantic countries. Norway have almost invariably been represented by the Minister at these annual meetings.
– Someone had to be the first minister to visit Russia after its annexation of Crimea. I have not taken part in these meetings before, but have been told that this ministerial meeting is a very important arena for Norway. That means it’s quite right to travel. Especially when the main topic is research as a key to ensuring sustainable fisheries, Sandberg says.
Bilateral talks with Russia
He will also be in bilateral talks. The Russian import ban on Norwegian fish could be one of the main topics in the talks. When Russia 7th August 2014 imposed import ban on Norwegian fish, this meant Norway’s single largest market for fish disappeared.
– I think that the Russians yearn for Norwegian seafood. It will be difficult if this subject is not mentioned in my bilateral talks I here. If I manage to make them reconsider their position on this issue or at least making them open to changing their minds, I do take a gloomy view of this, he said.
Sandberg believes one must “put a lid on the major conflicts” when it comes to fisheries.
– My focus is on collaboration. If I can make the Russians agree on the importance of dialogue in the talks in St. Petersburg, I think it will bring good results, Sandberg says.
Right place to start
Director and Russia expert Geir Hønneland at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute has previously told The Independent BarentsObserver that he expects that Norway and Russia sooner or later will start a normalization process.
– If you want gradually to soften the relationship, the administrative cooperation with Russia in the Barents ocean is the right place to start.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today