U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit
In Oslo, Ms. Clinton attended a conference on global health, which focused on maternal and child health in developing countries and she met with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Ms. Clinton later visited Tromsø in northern Norway, focusing on further cooperation in the Arctic regions. During the visit, Ms. Clinton also met with survivors from the Utøya island massacre of July 22, 2011.
Foreign Minister Støre viewed Hillary Clinton’s trip as a good opportunity to further develop the extensive and fruitful cooperation between Norway and the United States.
Below follows the opening remarks made by Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton after their meetings in Oslo June 1.
Foreign Minister Støre: Good afternoon on this sunny Friday afternoon in Oslo. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome my friend and colleague, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to Oslo. A few days ago, I had the privilege of visiting her city of birth, Chicago, and now I’m pleased to welcome her here in her capacity as the Secretary of State to my city of birth, Oslo. And I am also very happy that we are able to continue this visit on the flight north to Tromso, so we will get insights in this long stretch country of Norway.
I’ll just make a few remarks on our talks this morning and with the prime minister before lunch. We have a broad agenda which is, if I may say, free of issues between Norway and the United States, but they are filled with issues that concern Norway and the United States, and the issues where I would like to compliment the Secretary for having been a Secretary who’s looking for complementarity with allies and partners. And in area after area – and you just witnessed one downstairs on global health – we bring together our comparative advantage and experiences to try to maximize political efforts for change.
This morning we spent time on issues in the Arctic, which we certainly will follow up when we get to the Arctic. We touched upon climate change mitigation through supporting initiatives that actually bring difference. The world failed to get to one all-encompassing global deal on climate change a couple of years ago, but we are making progress on some individual projects such as fighting short-lived pollutants that have a dramatic effect in particular in the Arctic. We discussed that with the minister of the environment present, preparation for Rio+20, and other similar issues.
We followed up on our NATO meeting in Chicago discussing Afghanistan and our preparation for 2014 and the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan authorities, and not least, how we will stand by Afghanistan beyond 2014, supporting that country hopefully on the road of stability.
We touched upon Myanmar, where both the Secretary and I have visited, and where we are committed to support the forces for change, for democracy, and reform. We also discussed the drama unfolding in Syria, which is a preoccupation for the international community. And with the prime minister over lunch, we had a debate about the international financial situation, especially the economic situation in Europe, which is a concern for all of us. And we have a continuous agenda that we will continue to address tonight and tomorrow in Tromso. And I think they show us that our agenda is long, Secretary, and meeting with you and sharing your insight is always a great inspiration.
So, hearty welcome to Oslo.
Secretary Clinton: Well, thank you again, Foreign Minister, and it’s been a very productive and, may I say, enjoyable day. Our long meeting, the very constructive and pleasant lunch hosted by the prime minister, along with our prior meeting there, and then I had the great privilege of meeting with His Majesty and Her Majesty, as well as the crown prince and Her Royal Highness.
Let me just hit a few of the high points, because whenever Jonas and I get together, we cover so much ground, and I’m looking forward to continuing the discussion tonight and tomorrow. One of the primary purposes of my being here today is to say thank you – not only thank you to the Norwegian Government, but to the Norwegian people. The United States is very grateful for the leadership and partnership that we enjoy with Norway. On every issue, whether it be peace or security, human rights or development, we know that we can work with, count on, and make progress if we are teaming up with the Norwegians.
And we just saw another example of that with our commitments to the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership, and we are looking forward to adding this collaboration to our ongoing work. We also appreciate all the ways that Norway leads on global health, including through the co-chairing with Nigeria of the United Nations Commission on Lifesaving Commodities for Women and Children. And we will be working hand-in-hand on the Child Survival Summit that we will host in Washington later this month along with India and Ethiopia.
On Afghanistan, I thank the foreign minister for the exemplary performance of Norwegian soldiers over the last years, and also for the commitment of $25 million annually to support the Afghan National Security Forces after 2014. We both recognize these continuing efforts are necessary for the long-term stability of Afghanistan.
I also discussed the upcoming visit by Aung San Suu Kyi here to Norway, where she will finally be able to deliver her Nobel Peace Prize address, more than 20 years overdue. We are both working to support the pro-democracy movement and to help support the government as it continues to take steps for reform, particularly in the area of ending ethnic conflicts.
Let me briefly mention Egypt, because yesterday the new Egyptian parliament allowed the country’s emergency law to expire after more than 30 years in force. This law, of course, had given police sweeping powers to detain people without charging them and yesterday’s action is another positive step in Egypt’s domestic transition.
And as the foreign minister said, we discussed our countries’ work together on climate change and the environment. I certainly expressed our appreciation for Norway’s $1.5 million contribution to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, an effort to reduce the short-lived pollutants that cause over one-third of current warming while we continue to work together to reduce CO2 emissions.
I am also grateful for the leadership Norway has given to the REDD-plus initiative to fight deforestation. And we know how important this is because of our common interest and concern about climate change, but also, in particular, when we think about the environment in the Arctic.
The United States, like Norway, is an Arctic nation, and we are committed to working through the Arctic Council, which will be establishing its secretariat in Tromso, to make sure we protect this incredibly precious and valuable resource. We have to be conscious of the environmental impacts of everything that may occur because of the already existing effects of global warming that now make the Arctic much more accessible.
From a strategic standpoint, the Arctic has an increasing geopolitical importance as countries vie to protect their rights and extend their influence. And we want to work with Norway and the Arctic Council to help manage these changes and to agree on what would be, in effect, the rules of the road in the Arctic, so new developments are economically sustainable and environmentally responsible toward future generations.
So all in all, this has been yet another very useful exchange of views, and I look forward to continuing it as we travel together to the north.