USA’s President, Donald Trump, is ready for the Norwegian visit, and feels ‘unusually good’ about meeting Prime Minister, Erna Solberg of Høyre (H) on Wednesday.
At 20.00 Norwegian time, Trump and Solberg will have what is summed up as close to a two hour long meeting between the two. It is the 20th time a Norwegian prime minister is inside the white house.
In addition to the fact that the American president is spending more time than usual on such a visit, virtually all the president’s closest allies will take part in the visit from Norway.
Solberg and Trump have met each other twice before in the NATO and G20 contexts, but today’s meeting will be the first personal meeting.
The conversations themselves are expected to be divided into two parts. Firstly, there is a meeting of about 20 minutes between the two heads of state, where they will be the only one’s present.
Then there will be up to three quarters of an hour of talks between the Norwegian and the US delegations.
Each delegation is made up of seven people, in addition to Trump and Solberg. On the American side, on Tuesday night it was not yet fully clear who will be attending, but Foreign Minister, Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Chief of Staff, John F. Kelly, and possibly Vice President, Mike Pence are expected to be present.
Meeting with the son-in-law
Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide of Høyre (H) is also involved in the White House visit. But unlike the prime minister, who will return home shortly afterward, Søreide will stay in Washington for several meetings.
On Wednesday, she will meet the head of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, as well as Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a senior advisor with special responsibility for the Middle Eastern Peace Process which has been so recently damaged by Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem asIsrael’s capital. It is expected that the question of US assistance to Palestine, and the work for a two-state solution will be among the topics of the talks with Kushner.
After visiting the White House, Søreide is going to dinner with security adviser, McMaster, before meetings on Thursday with Defence Secretary, James Mattis, and Foreign Minister, Rex Tillerson.
The meetings in the White House are expected to encircle three main themes, the economy and trade, security and defence policy, and global issues.
In the first meeting, Trump is expected to talk about the trade balance with
Norway, which is slightly tilted in the United States favour. The President wishes for more Norwegian investment in the United States, and closer economic cooperation.
The second theme is expected to concern NATO issues, relations with Russia, and defence cooperation between the United States and Norway. The third theme will include questions about the war against the Islamic State (IS) as well as developments in the Korean Peninsula, and the Middle East. It is also under this section that Solberg will address the Norwegian view of international climate work, and emphasise the importance of following up the Paris agreement.
Following the political talks in the White House, a joint press conference will be held with Trump and Solberg, which is expected to start at approximately 23.10 Norwegian time.
This is the third time Erna Solberg is visiting the White House. She therefore equals Einar Gerhardsen in the number of presidential visits she’s made, but the record is held by Gro Harlem Brundtland, who made four visits during her term as prime minister.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today