President Kaljulaid talks UNSC and Arctic Council on one-day Norway visit

President Kersti Kaljulaid meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg in Oslo on Friday.
President Kersti Kaljulaid meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg in Oslo on Friday. Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia

President Kersti Kaljulaid dissussed Estonian-Norwegian relations on an official, one-day visit to Oslo Friday, ahead of Norway's accession to the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The president also discussed security, climate change and the digital revolution, calling on Baltic and Scandinavian countries to form a common digital region.

The president met both Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg and Crown Prince Haakon while on her visit.

Estonia has held a non-permanent seat on the UNSC since January, with the two-year stint continuing next year – the same year Norway joins with its own non-permanent seat.

"Norway also became an elected member of the UN Security Council in January, and for the first time in history we have a situation where both Baltic and Nordic countries are at the table as part of the most important cooperation format in the world," President Kaljulaid said, via a press release.

"We are already cooperating with Norway today to stand up effectively in conflict prevention and resolution and respect for international law," she went on.

The other major issue on the table Friday was Estonia's plan to join the Arctic Council as an observer member.

Estonia submitted its application to join earlier this month. The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum comprising countries with territory bisected by the Arctic Circle, namely: Canada, Denmark (via Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S. (via Alaska).

President Kaljulaid's Norway visit also focused on cyber security, international relations and energy policy, as well as other international organizations such as NATO, which both countries are members of.

The visit also touched on the coronavirus pandemic and found that the two countries, as some of the most developed digital pioneer nations, should set the bar even higher, the president said, after her meeting with the Norwegian prime minister: "To create a digital region which works together in the context of the Nordic and Baltic countries. This would presuppose secure and seemingly invisible cross-border data flows and services, and a permissive regulatory environment will allow for the full application of technologies."

The president also met Crown Prince Haakon, as noted by Norway's embassy in Tallinn, as well as Norway's foreign minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, Storting speaker Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen and foreign committee leader Anniken Huitfeldt.

President Kaljulaid also took part in a digital debate at the Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) and in a discussion on the environment and the arctic at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, named after the famous Norwegian polar explorer.

The president returned to Estonia Friday night, her office says.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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