Prime Minister Solberg makes President Obama laugh during summit

White HousePresident Barack Obama welcomes Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the other Nordic leaders to a summit at the White House in Washington.Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg made US President Barack Obama laugh during a summit at the White House this Friday, while asking for support of Nordic countries.

A large reception which was scheduled to be held outside the White House was cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions. Instead, Solberg and her colleagues were welcomed to join the president inside the presidential residence in Washington.

In her opening speech, the Norwegian Prime Minister made president Obama laugh with a joke about Americans skiing. ‘For some weeks ago we had the pleasure of welcoming American guests to Norway during our annual NATO rehearsal ‘Cold Response’. The rehearsal is very useful, but I must admit that one of the highlights was to watch the US marines learning to ski’, said Solberg. Obama himself kept a light tone as well during his opening statement by welcoming his guests in Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.

Northern areas and Russia

During her speech, Solberg asked for continued attention to the northern regions as well as Scandinavia’s relations with Russia. Norwegian authorities wish for an increased NATO marine presence in the North. Coordination of Arctic issues is among the topics Americans have put on the agenda along with security and climate. ‘My goal is to perceive what is important in Norway’s security policy, and that is awareness of the maritime and the Atlantic dimension. It is important to remind that this area is important in a new security policy situation’, Solberg says to NTB before her meeting. Foreign Minister Foreign Minister joined Prime Minister Solberg to Washington.

Norway and the EU

Solberg will also use this opportunity to speak about Norway’s position outside the EU. ‘We are dedicated to make sure that the US keeps in contact with Norway. It is important for us to be visible; too often the US sees Europe as the EU’, she says to NTB.  According to Solberg it is essential that the Nordic countries are seen as important partners for the USA. The White House has declared that the meeting emphasizes the US ‘continued commitment to European security. During her visit this Friday, Solberg also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and joined a dinner at the White House together with her husband Sindre Finnes.