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Norway to remain Europe’s reliable energy supplier, says foreign minister

European goal of reducing its dependence on Russian energy is ‘positive’ development, says Anniken Huitfeldt

Emre Karaca   | 21.06.2022
Norway to remain Europe’s reliable energy supplier, says foreign minister


Norway will continue to be a reliable and stable supplier of oil and gas to the European market amid the ongoing energy crisis between Russia and Europe following the war in Ukraine, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Anniken Huitfeldt commented on her visit to Türkiye last week, bilateral ties, the upcoming UN Security Council (UNSC) voting on extending aid to Syria, and energy-related developments triggered following the Ukraine-Russia war.

"The war in Ukraine is affecting the world's energy markets. The war has already led the EU to implement specific measures to reduce dependency on Russian energy as soon as possible. This is positive," Huitfeldt said.

She continued: "Norway will continue to be a reliable and stable supplier of oil and gas to the European market. At the same time, the war can accelerate the green transition in Europe. Norway is ready to contribute with experience and expertise within offshore wind, carbon capture and storage."

Referring to Polish premier Mateusz Morawiecki's call on Norway to share its "excess profits" obtained through the skyrocketing prices of oil and gas, she said her country took note of this comment, but Norway was one of the most generous donors responding to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighboring countries with an allocated budget of over 2.1 billion Norwegian Krones (some $214 million).

"We are ready to contribute more to cover financial assistance, humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Ukraine," she added.

Millions of Syrians in dire need of humanitarian aid

A large-scale UN cross-border response from Türkiye to Syria remains critical for saving lives. More than 4 million Syrians depend on the food, water, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies that are shipped through the Cilvegözü border gate, she said, referring to the border gate linking Türkiye and Syria in the south.

She further noted that Norway was in close contact with Ireland to renew the resolution allowing humanitarian aid to enter Syria.

"I visited Türkiye to better understand how the humanitarian response is implemented. I appreciate the opportunity to observe the tremendous efforts done by Turkish authorities, the UN and humanitarian organizations in this regard," she said.

"These are uncertain times. Cooperating with partners and allies more important than ever. We appreciate our close cooperation with the EU and Türkiye on a wide range of issues," she said.

Norway looking forward to retaining dialogue with Türkiye

She said the pandemic caused a hiccup in trade between the two countries, but in the long-term, trade increased, with Norway investing $428 million in Türkiye in 2021.

"We note an existing potential for trade and economic cooperation, especially within the framework of the green energy transition," she said. "As an example, Türkiye is an important manufacturer of electric ferries. The world's largest electrical ferry, built-in Türkiye, is currently operating in Norway."

Stressing that the Paris Agreement sent important signals to the private sector, she said Norway took a positive note of Turkish ratification of the deal and her country was looking forward to "continuing the dialogue with Türkiye on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, including within the framework of the new free trade agreement between EFTA and Türkiye which entered into force on Oct. 1, 2021."

Problems surrounding Norwegian child welfare services

Commenting on the controversial decisions by Barnevernet -- the Norwegian child welfare service -- on the adoption of children of foreigners, Huitfeldt said the government has identified the points conflicting with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and would take the essential steps by regulating its domestic law.

"Following the Court's judgments, the Government has drawn up and initiated several general measures that have been or will be implemented to strengthen the Norwegian child welfare service," she stated.

Norway was found guilty of violating Article 8 of the Convention of Human Rights in the cases brought by some victimized families to the ECHR.

The cases of Strand Lobben and Abdi Ibrahim were filed in the ECHR on Sept. 10, 2019, and Dec. 20, 2021, respectively.

Back in 2010, the son of a Somalian mother, Mariya Abdi Ibrahim, was forcibly taken away and handed over to a Christian foster family. She filed a legal complaint in Norway, but to no avail. She took the legal fight to the ECHR, where she won the case.

A similar case was brought by mother Trude Lobben to the ECHR.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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