Støre travels to US: “Important to preserve the defense alliance”
The war in Ukraine will be an important backdrop when Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre visits a naval aircraft carrier in Virginia. Støre will also discuss the energy crisis in Europe.
MARIUS HELGE LARSEN
“We have a neighbor, Russia, who has gone to a full-scale war of aggression against another neighboring country. It challenges the core mission of NATO, namely, to uphold the security of the member states,” said Støre to NTB.
On Sunday, Sept. 18, he traveled to the United States. Security policy, war in Ukraine, energy and climate are central to his journey.
“The war in Ukraine has led to Sweden and Finland changing their policy of non-alignment and seeking the security of the alliance. It is important to emphasize the cooperation within NATO, but for Norway it is also important to nurture the bilateral cooperation with the United States and the insurance policy we have through the alliance,” said the prime minister.
Among other things, Støre will go out on the naval aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford together with Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram (Center Party). He will also visit NATO’s operational command in Norfolk, Va.
In addition, he will meet the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the minority leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell in Washington, D.C.
“It is important to explain to them what Europe is doing in relation to Ukraine, and what the consequences of the war in Europe are. We work very closely with the other countries when it comes to dealing with the energy crisis. I know the Americans are interested in that,” said the prime minister.
Støre will also meet with other heads of state when he leads Norway’s delegation to the UN’s 77th General Assembly in New York.
At home, the prime minister has received criticism from Norwegians who struggle with high electricity bills, but lately international pressure has also increased against Norway, which rakes in money from sky-high gas prices. For instance, the renowned magazine The Economist took a strong stand against Norway last week, writing that “Norway’s profit from war in Europe is embarrassing.”
Støre denied that Norway has a reputation problem with the rest of the world.
“I think we have to live with the fact that there will be newspaper editorials and that there will be talk about Norway’s current high income. Those who know Norway know that the income goes into our pension fund, which is then invested abroad, including in Europe in important areas.”
Norway is currently in close dialogue with the EU to deal with the energy crisis, and the prime minister emphasized that the high gas prices are not advantageous to Norway either.
“It is not in Norway’s interest to have sky-high gas prices in Europe. They drive up the electricity price in southern Norway, they affect the industry in Europe that collaborates with Norwegian companies, and it challenges social stability in the countries that are our partners and allies,” he said.
New contacts from the Security Council
The war in Ukraine, as well as the climate crisis, will also be the most important topics at the UN summit, according to Støre.
“Although the UN receives a lot of criticism for not being able to act on crucial issues, with a veto in the Security Council and so on, it is still the arena we have for the countries of the world. Norway will always emphasize contributing as best we can there,” he said.
Norway has been a member of the Security Council for the past year and a half, but the term expires at the end of year. The end of the two-year period has been completely dominated by the Ukraine crisis, said the prime minister.
“The invasion has been dominant for many issues. But indirectly it has also had an impact on everything else the Security Council does, because it easily leads to a veto, especially from Russia,” said Støre.
He feels that the cases that are vetoed get the most attention.
“Then the impression is that nothing has been done, but the Security Council is still an important arena for discussing issues and trying to find joint solutions.”
Støre believes that the time on the Security Council has been valuable for Norway.
“We have acquired many contacts and entrances which we will enjoy also in the future.”
To subscribe to The Norwegian American, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.