The war in Ukraine changed the framework for Norwegian foreign and security policy, Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (AP) said on Tuesday.
“Now we have an unstable, unpredictable, and thus more dangerous Russian neighbor in the north,” Huitfeldt said when she began her speech on foreign policy in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on Tuesday.
“30 years of development of Norwegian neighborhood policy with Russia has changed. It will shape our High North policy,” she said.
Her address was mainly devoted to the war in Ukraine and its consequences for Norway and the international community.
“It is too early to assess the full range of consequences for Norwegian security and Norwegian foreign policy. But the consequences could be significant,” Huitfeldt said.
Wants broad cooperation
She emphasized the importance of NATO membership, adding that the debate on membership has flared up in both Finland and Sweden.
“It is too early to say what the outcome will be, and how Norway will be affected.”
“Nevertheless. A strategic and security policy turning point for the Nordic region, and thus also for Norway, is in the works,” Huitfeldt said.
In the spring, she plans to call on the Storting to cooperate on ensuring broad support for Norwegian security policy interests.
“The government will also return to the Storting with proposals for how the Norwegian side should handle long-term consequences for Norwegian interests,” Huitfeldt said.
Deterrence and reassurance
Russia’s aggressive warfare in Ukraine will affect the entire European landscape, Huitfeldt pointed out. This entails markets, energy prices, food shortages, and a real danger of a humanitarian crisis in Europe on a scale not seen for decades.
“We do not yet know how Russia will react to sanctions and Norway’s military equipment aid,” Huitfeldt explained.
“But we know this: The regime in Moscow has underestimated the strength of the values they attack. It has underestimated the unity of Europe, the ties across the Atlantic, and the ability and willingness of Ukrainian leaders and peoples to resist,” she said.
“The war also has consequences for security policy in our own immediate area. We have to deal with a self-assertive and aggressive neighbor to the east.”
Huitfeldt emphasized that Norway’s security policy must be recognizable and predictable.
“Deterrence and reassurance continue to be the main elements of our approach to Russia. Even in the current situation, we can not choose between these two,” she said.
The deterrent is NATO, and it is the bedrock on which Norwegian security is based. At the same time, reassurance is still important.
“Norway does not pose, has never posed, and will not pose, any threat to Russia,” she said, adding that the Norwegian base policy, nuclear policy, and restrictions on foreign military activity in Norway in peacetime remain fixed.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
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