Norway–Russia relations thaw with new talks

Norway’s foreign ministry on Monday met for a bilateral meeting which brought an end to the near total diplomatic freeze between the two countries which began when Russian forces annexed Crimea in spring last year.

Norway–Russia relations thaw with new talks
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende and Russia's Vladimir Titov at a meeting in 2013. Photo: Photo: Jan-Morten Bjørnbakk / NTB scanpix
Tore Hattrem, a state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Monday held talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Titov, a close advisor of Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. 
“What we had today was a completely ordinary and completely regular bilateral meeting with Russia,” Hattrem told NRK on Monday afternoon. “There’s nothing new or sensational about that. We’ve had these with Russia for a longer time.” 
In fact, Norway has suspended almost all diplomatic relationships with Russia since the invasion of Crimea last March, a dramatic move which Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Monday condemned yet again. 
“Russia’s aggression and violation of international law in Ukraine is unacceptable,” she told a Nato meeting in Stavanger. “The country has taken armed conflict back to the European continent. Russia has increased its military capacity and country shows that it is willing to achieve strategic objectives by military force.” 
Russia requested Monday’s meeting, which discussed joint policy on the two countries’ Arctic border, Ukraine and the situation in Syria. 
“Russia and Norway have common interests in important areas such as border issues, fisheries, nuclear safety and security, environment, and so on,” he said. 

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