Amid an overall strain on bilateral relations of Norway with Russia, the Norwegian Labour party that recently won an election expressed an intention to build a warmer relationship with Russia, Sputnik reports.
High-ranking Norwegian and Russian military officials meet today on 29 September in the Norwegian town of Kirkenes bordering the Russian Murmansk Region on the Kola Peninsula. This meeting became the first one of its kind in the last two years. In particular, the Head of the Norwegian Armed Forces operational headquarters (FOH), Lieutenant General Yngve Odlo, will meet the Head of the FSB border directorate Lieutenant General Stanislav Maslov.
The FOH emphasised that the discussions and conversations during previous visits have been perceived by the Norwegian side as constructive. This time, specific problems related to “common challenges” concerning border cooperation, rescue services, and fisheries management will be discussed.
It is stated that there is still an agreement between the delegations that the challenges in the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and on the border must be solved “through open communication channels and a continuation of the agreements entered into between Norway and Russia”. Reminding that cooperation on the Norwegian-Russian border is based on the border agreement between them since 1949, the Norwegian Armed Forces stressed that this cooperation is “a historically well-established cooperation characterised by a good, open dialogue”.
Earlier in September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that foreign brigades are stationed in Norway, despite laws that make the permanent presence of foreign armed forces illegal. Lavrov emphasised that Russia is open to equal, honest and mutually beneficial cooperation with Norway, citing the 2010 agreement on the delimitation of space in the Barents Sea.