On Friday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg met Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at Asia-Europe summit in Brussels. Norway took the initiative and it was the first time Norway and Russia meet at such a high political level since Russia’s annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The opportunity was used to talk about the Norwegian sea initiative, says Solberg. Also, she expressed her concern about the emergence of a humanitarian disaster in Idlib Province in Syria.
“There was no room for addressing many issues, but I raised the question of Syria and Idlib, which is the situation we are facing right now,” Solberg told NTB.
Want increased political contact with Russia
The sensitive topics such as the spearhead against Frode Berg, who is spying in Russia, or Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was not discussed when the two met.
Norway’s political contact with Russia was largely broken after the annexation of the Crimea but now, Norway wants increased contact with Russia, explains Solberg.
“We have said we want more contact. Russia is a big and important country. One thing is that it is our neighbor and that we have much common in the north. But it is also a major and important player internationally, points out Solberg.
Erna Solberg believes that the Frode Berg case is consular and not a political matter. Therefore, to raise the case in the discussion had been “totally unnatural”, she explains.
Nevertheless, Solberg was keen in expressing her concern about a military settlement in Idlib and Medvedev also agreed that a humanitarian disaster in the province should be waived.
In addition, Solberg took up the Norwegian sea initiative and the cooperation between Norway and Russia on the management of fishery resources in the Barents Sea.