Statement from Bjørn Arild Gram meeting Ben Wallace in Northwood
Speech/statement | Date: 18/05/2023 | Ministry of Defence
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Let me start by thanking my very good colleague Ben for the invitation to Northwood. Norway and the United Kingdom have a long history of friendship and partnership and the UK is Norway’s most important European ally.
Russia’s war against Ukraine has brought us even closer together.
Russia’s use of military force have direct implications also for Norway and the situation in the High North.
It’s important that democracies stand together when the rules based international order is under pressure. Therefore there is also an increased need for close military co-operation between allies, especially at sea.
Today’s meetings have clearly shown a common understanding and a common desire to further enhance our bilateral defence co-operation.
The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines last year, is a clear reminder of what is at stake here.
Our signing today is therefore very important.
By working together, we can improve our abilities to detect submarines, counter mine threats and to protect critical infrastructure on the seabed.
Let me take the opportunity to congratulate you, Ben, on the UKs new Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance Vessel. Such a capacity will be of great use in protecting critical infrastructure.
Today, we have also agreed to continue and to strengthen our support to Ukraine.
The UK has a long and proud history of international leadership in crisis. The UK have taken a strong stance to support the Ukrainians in their just fight for freedom and sovereignty. The role UK plays is vital.The UK acts as a catalyst for donations from partners and allies. For this, UK and Ben deserves credit and our gratitude.
We are working closely together in this support, both financially, through the International Fund for Ukraine, and military, through Operation Interflex.
Norway is a substantial contributor to the Fund, and we contribute to the training of Ukrainian soldiers both here in the UK, and in Norway. From this summer on, Norway will double our number of instructors in operation Interflex.
We have also worked together to maximize our efforts concerning donation of weapons and ammunition.
Today we are confirming the delivery of long-range artillery and radars. Norway provides three Arthur artillery location radars and up to eight long-range rocket artillery of the MLRS type. The donations are made in close collaboration with the UK.
These are significant contributions to the Ukrainian defence, and show the determination of our governments to stand together in our support for the Ukrainian people.
Further reading: UK and Norway to increase cooperation on undersea capabilities - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)