When opening the Kirkenes Conference, held earlier this week, the Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide announced that both she and the Prime Minister Erna Solberg will attend the conference "Arctic – Territory of Dialogue" to be held in St. Petersburg on the 9th and 10th of April. “Our neighborly relation to Russia is a constant and important factor in Norwegian foreign policy, and cooperation with Russia is important for the stability of our immediate neighborhood”, Solberg says in a press release.
Last time this international Arctic forum took place in Arkhangelsk in 2017. Then-Foreign Minister Børge Brende attended as well as several high-level representatives from the Nordic countries including the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, who recently also confirmed his participation in the upcoming meeting with the Russian President in April.
As incoming BEAC Chair Norway announced for the first time the following priorities for 2019-2021 under the heading “A strong and resilient Barents region”: Health (including e-health), People-to-people and Knowledge (including environment, youth, education, competence).
BEAC Chair Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was unable to come to Kirkenes due to other engagements and sent her greetings by video. Watch the video with her greetings to the attendants of the conference here.