Norwegian FM believes in more collaboration with Biden, especially on climate

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OSLO, DEC 2020 – Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) sees opportunities for more cooperation with the United States when Joe Biden takes over as president.

“Although we can expect a large degree of continuity in many issues of importance to us, the change of president in some areas may allow for increased cooperation with the United States, for example, related to global climate issues and global health,” Eriksen Søreide said in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on Tuesday.

In her address, Søreide presented the government’s priorities for 2021 for the UN Security Council.

According to the Foreign Minister, the corona pandemic, economic challenges, and political polarization mean that Biden will probably have to spend a lot of time on domestic policy in the future.

“But we see the signals that the incoming president has given, among other things regarding the Paris Agreement, which can open up opportunities for more cooperation,” she told NTB.

Pressure from the great powers

In her statement, Eriksen Søreide also highlighted the rivalry between the great powers and how China has filled the void left by the United States that has withdrawn from the world stage under President Donald Trump.

The Socialist Left Party’s (SV) leader Audun Lysbakken wanted answers to how Norway will handle pressure from the American side and whether Norway will dare to think differently than the United States in the UN Security Council.

Eriksen Søreide assured him that Norway would dare to have dissenting opinions.

She referred to the nuclear agreement with Iran, trade policy, and climate policy as issues where Norway already was in clear disagreement with the White House.

“We have a very close and good cooperation with the United States as our closest ally, but we also voice clear disagreement when we disagree politically,” she noted, labeling SV’s criticism as outdated.

Climate and security

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also talked about how Norway will try to get the climate issue on the Security Council’s agenda.

“Climate and conflict are connected, and climate change often exacerbates underlying conflicts,” Eriksen Søreide said.

Eriksen Søreide also pointed out that not all members of the Council recognize that there is a connection between climate and security.

Therefore, Norway will also work to promote greater acceptance of the connection, in collaboration with Norwegian NUPI, Swedish SIPRI, and German professional communities.

“Through this (effort), we will also contribute to building up competence and expertise in this area in the Nordic region,” she added.

The effort will contribute to greater acceptance of the threat posed by the climate issue to international peace and security, and get it recognized in the Security Council’s work, she elaborated.

Norway has been elected as a member of the Security Council for the period 2021–2022.