Representatives of the governments of Norway and Sweden count on further cooperation with Russia in the Arctic on a number of issues and do not see Russia as a dangerous neighbor.
"Russia does not represent a military threat to Norway," Norwegian Foreign Minister Ina Eriksen Søreide told journalists at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø.
She drew attention to the continued cooperation between Russia and Norway in the Arctic: "Despite the European sanctions of recent years, we have excellent practical cooperation with Russia on many issues, including protection and security measures in the region, search and rescue, environmental initiatives," - she said.
During the panel discussion at the conference, the representative of the European Parliament Urmas Paet, the former Estonian Foreign Minister (2005-2014), expressed concern over the geopolitical dynamics in the Arctic region, including in connection with "Russian militarization."
"Based on my experience as Norway's defense minister, I can say that we do not expect a potential conflict to begin in the North, and perhaps some event may occur in the Baltic region, and then its consequences will spread north," the Norwegian foreign minister said. . In the previous Norwegian government, IE Sereide was the head of the Ministry of Defense (2013-2017).
Sweden continues to closely monitor the activities of Russia in the Arctic, including projects related to defense, said the Minister of Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Sweden Michael Damberg. "We are not naive, but we look forward to cooperation with the Russian side," he said.
"Unlike many other regions of the world, the Arctic is not affected by unpredictability, and international cooperation continues here," the Norwegian Foreign Minister said. According to the minister, the Arctic Council remains the main international body for solving Arctic problems. The Arctic Council was established in 1996 on the initiative of Finland, its permanent members are Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland and Sweden.
"The Arctic should remain a region of peaceful resolution of problems and stability, a region of international dialogue," the Swedish minister said.
The annual international conference Arctic Frontiers is held from 2007 year with the participation of representatives of governments, business and academia. The main topics are sustainable development and international cooperation in the Arctic.