Speeches and statements

Press briefing by Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt

Press briefing by Minister Huitfeldt held May 31 before NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Oslo.

Picture of Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt's at press conference with blue backround and norwegian and NATO flags
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt's press conference at the National Museum on 31 May. Credit: Mathias Rongved / Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Welcome to Oslo and to the second informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

It is a pleasure for Norway to be hosting this meeting at this crucial time. Because there is a war in Europe, it is important for the NATO foreign ministers to maintain close contact. It further cements the already strong unity within the Alliance.

All 31 member countries and invitee Sweden will participate.

The meeting is the final meeting of foreign ministers before the NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

A primary focus for discussions here in Oslo will be our continued relations with and support for Ukraine.

Long-term civilian and military support to Ukraine is essential. Norway is doing its part with the Nansen Support Programme for Ukraine. This multi-year support programme will provide almost 7 billion Euro over a period of five years.

Norway is a major contributor to NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine, which is another important long-term commitment.

But most importantly, this meeting will reaffirm our strong transatlantic ties and to address common challenges in our neighbourhood.  The war in Ukraine has highlighted how important NATO is to our security.

This meeting provides an opportunity for me to draw attention to the important role Norway plays as NATO in the north. Maintaining a presence in the High North is one of Norway’s most important tasks in the alliance.

With the war in Ukraine, Russia is weakened conventionally. But the strategic nuclear arsenal is still in place close to our border. We are monitoring military activity in the region closely.

Another of Norway’s key tasks is to ensure a stable energy supply to Europe. We have 80 installations at sea and almost 8800 km of pipelines.

We take our responsibility as the main supplier of gas to Europe very seriously. This implies strengthened surveillance related to critical energy infrastructure.  

Lessons from the last year have showed the link between security and energy security. We welcome NATO’s engagement in efforts to protect critical infrastructure on the seabed.

At the last meeting of Foreign Ministers in Brussels, we welcomed Finland into the Alliance. It was a special moment for the Nordic countries in the alliance.

Now we are impatiently waiting for Sweden. I am glad my good Swedish colleague Mr Billstrøm is here. Sweden now participates in NATO meetings as an official NATO Invitee.

Sweden must become a fully-fledged NATO member as soon as possible, and before the summit in Vilnius in July.

With the Nordic region united in NATO, the alliance will be stronger.

Thank you.