State Secretary Tore Hatterem talks about a dual track policy with Russia
Oct 28, Oslo: State Secretary Tore Hatterem at the conference on Russia and the Nordic countries stated that this would be a good opportunity to improve relations between the Nordic nations and Russia.
The Conference which began on October 26 examined the relationship between Nordic nations and Russia and discussions centered around how to maintain cordial relationship between Russia as tensions rise in Ukraine."We have to discuss our relations with Russia against a political backdrop that has changed considerably compared with only a few years ago.That is why this conference is important. We all need to discuss how to achieve and preserve a stable, well-functioning and good relationship with neighbouring Russia under the circumstances we are currently facing," he said in his opening speech at the conference which began on Monday.
He also informed that their Russia policy follows a dual track: "On the one side defending our values and principles - loud and clear, if need be. And on the other side seeking pragmatic and practical cooperation of mutual interest," he said.
According to him they would continue to pursue working with Russia, but it was very important to be clear on why cooperation and contact with Russia today is more difficult than a couple a years ago."The answer is Russia’s actions in Ukraine and worsening conditions for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We will, however, continue practical cooperation where we have common interest. A deep political cooperation will require a return to common values and the path of international law.".
According to him, their common vision should be that the relations to Russia one day should be as close and good as between the Nordic countries.
"It is a long way to go and a large gap to fill. But we should all move in the right direction.By engaging in cooperation, promoting people-to-people contact, supporting civil societies and respecting human rights, we contribute to trust, peace and security in our part of the world," he said.
The Oslo Times