Tale/innlegg | Dato: 26.04.2013
Tale ved lunsj i House of Lords ved statsråd Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, 25. april
*Sjekkes mot fremføring*
Lord Astor, Veterans, Generals, Friends
Allow me first of all to convey my deepest thanks to Lord Astor for hosting this lunch and receiving us at the House of Lords.
We come together to commemorate one defining moment in Norwegian history of resistance. We are gathered in London to mark a decisive event shaping the relations between the United Kingdom and Norway.
In our midst is our guest of honour, Mr. Joachim Rønneberg. You were selected to lead those daring men in this epic operation in 1943. It is with great respect and admiration we honuor you and your fellow officers on this remarkable accomplishment.
In the hour of need, you will know who your friends are, says a Norwegian proverb. During the Second World War our two nations came together in solidarity and mutual trust. Our peaceful nations were suddenly under fierce attack as the world order was severely challenged.
The resilience of the British people kept spirits up all over occupied Norway. And you gave our Royal family and Government a safe haven from where they could lead our country. Many were those who eagerly followed King Haakon, when his voice was broadcasted on the BBC.
The unwavering support we enjoyed from the United Kingdom was crucial and for this we remain ever thankful. Along with the resistance movement you kept alive the vision of restoration of independence and return to a democratic life.
After five years we prevailed. The price paid was high. Thousands of men and women fought a cause they did not live through to see. It is their legacy we must defend and secure. This is our humble obligation.
Lessons from World War II strengthen our common belief and respect for human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law. Our two countries share this vision and will continue to defend these fundamental values.
They constitute the pillars of our foreign and defence policy regardless of shifting governments. We stand side by side in international fora and join forces in the world’s most successful and long-lasting military alliance.
Under the NATO umbrella our two nations have embarked on several missions and challenges. We serve shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan. We secure vast ocean areas from piracy. And with determination we prevented a brutal dictator from committing atrocities against the people of Libya.
Also here at home we stand up for a common cause. Today our part of the world is faced with serious economic and social challenges. Cuts are inevitable also within European defence. We seek to remedy this situation by strengthening the strong links between the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom and Norway. And we open new venues of co-operation for Northern Europe ensuring more defence capabilities for less money.
Today, in the presence of our veterans and Mr. Joachim Rønneberg, the purpose of our efforts becomes so much more evident. Only when confronted by the risks and sacrifices you made, we fully grasp the meaning of close and friendly ties.
I take great pleasure in inviting you all to join me in a toast to Lord Astor, to the veterans and to the friendship between our countries.