Speech/statement | Date: 13/05/2016 | Office of the Prime Minister
Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the Nordic White House state visit arrival ceremony 13 May 2016.
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Mr. President, First Lady, Nordic colleagues, distinguished guests, dear friends.
Thank you so much for the warm welcome you’ve given to my husband and me, and the members of our delegation.
As you make the most of your final year in the White House, we are delighted to note, Mr. President, that you have clearly saved the best for last.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of welcoming some special American guests to Norway. It was for our annual NATO exercise, Cold Response.
The exercise provides valuable joint training in winter warfare. But I'll be honest and confess that one highlight for Norwegians is watching US Marines learn how to ski cross-country style.
You stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the deep snows of Norway.
Just as our Navy proudly patrolled the waters of Hawaii, your birth state, two years ago during the RIMPAC exercise.
Just as we stood together after 9/11.
Just as we have now joined forces in the fight against ISIL.
This is the nature of our alliance and partnership. We are bound by the experiences and history we have shared.
One of the Marines I met at the NATO exercise in Norway was called Gage – Gage Solberg.
As his name illustrates, there are millions of people of Norwegian descent in the United States. In fact, more than there are in Norway.
Thousands of Norwegians crossed the huge expanse of the Atlantic Ocean in the mid-19th century to pursue new opportunities for themselves and their children. They carried the dream of a better life in the United States.
Today, the Atlantic Ocean unites us more than it separates us. It has made Norway a seafaring nation – open to trade with the world, and committed to developing our fish, gas and oil resources in a sustainable manner.
The Norwegian coastline reaches to the North Cape. Keeping a close eye on developments in the High North is a key priority for us.
Preserving stability and predictability in our own region benefits the entire NATO alliance.
As close allies, we share common values – and of course that is no coincidence. In 1814, our founding fathers looked to America for inspiration in drafting the Norwegian constitution.
Ourcommon values remain steadfast – freedom, democracy, equality, and human rights. Our values reflectthe nature of our relationship, and the partnership we hold dear.
Today’s US-Nordic Summit is a strong reminder of what we have achieved together. But we know there is more to be done.
The United States, as a great power, and the five Nordic countries all have different roles to play in the international arena. We can achieve great things when we pursue the same agenda.
I would like to commend your global leadership.
Your commitment to achieving real progress on climate change was essential for the Paris agreement. American leadership is key to ensuring the future of the planet.
We share your dedication to disarmament and nuclear security. Non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control are key elements of international security.
We support your request for bold new reductions, on a reciprocal basis, to make the world safer.
In New York last year the international community established a roadmap for the future by agreeing on the Sustainable Development Goals.
If we make the right choices over the next 15 years, we can eradicate extreme poverty. We can achieve a fair and more peaceful future. And we can do all this in a way that safeguards the planet.
Broad partnerships and innovative new approaches will be needed to achieve these goals. The United States and the Nordics will be out front.
And we know of few ventures that provide a better return than girls’ education.
I greatly appreciate the leadership that the First Lady has provided in this cause.
It is a cause we share – as women, as mothers, and as leaders.
Today’s summit is an important opportunity to advance US-Nordic cooperation and to reiterate the values we share and the truths we hold to be self-evident.
Because we are stronger and more effective together, let us ensure that the bonds between our countries remain as powerful as they are today.