The Prime Ministers statement regarding the handover of Frode Berg

Prime Minister Erna Solbergs statement regarding the handover of Frode Berg, 15th of november 2019.

I am very pleased to be able to say that Frode Berg is now a free man.

As you know, he has been in prison in Russia for two years. He received a pardon in Russia on Thursday. Today at 11:00, he was handed over at the border between Russian and Lithuania. He is now in Lithuania together with representatives of the Norwegian authorities and his lawyer. He will return home to Norway as soon as practicably possible.

This afternoon I had a short telephone conversation with Frode Berg, and told him how pleased I was that he could now return to Norway.

This case has placed great strain on Frode Berg and his family and friends. He will now be reunited with them. He has had two difficult years in prison, and we are very pleased that he has now regained his freedom.  

While Frode Berg was in prison, the Norwegian authorities represented by the Embassy in Moscow have done what they could to make his situation easier.  

The Embassy’s contact with Mr Berg has been as close as possible within the framework set by the Russian authorities.

Right from the start, the Norwegian authorities have worked actively to make it possible for Frode Berg to return home. We have worked along several different tracks and at different levels, but it has taken some time to find a solution.

The fact that he was arrested and subsequently convicted in Russia has made our work particularly challenging.  

A solution was finally found in close cooperation with the authorities in Lithuania. I would like to thank the Lithuanian authorities for their hard work and for the difficult political decisions they have had to take in order to secure the release of Frode Berg.   

This is an example of successful cooperation between two close allies. I would especially like to thank President Gitanas Nauseda for all that he has done in this case.

The Lithuanian authorities were present when Frode Berg was handed over at the border between Lithuania and Russia earlier today. He will soon travel back to Norway together with representatives of the Norwegian authorities.  

Frode Berg has been in prison for two years under difficult and unfamiliar conditions. If he would like further support from the Norwegian authorities after all that he has been through, this will be provided.  

I will now hand over to the Foreign Minister, who will provide more details about the work that has been done to enable Frode Berg to return home to Norway.