Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and the entire spectrum of political leaders in the Norwegian Parliament voiced support Thursday for renewed relations between the US and Cuba after years of a diplomatic freeze. “This is very good,” Solberg told state broadcaster NRK. “It’s been unnatural with the lack of cooperation between the US and Cuba.”
Anniken Huitfeldt, foreign policy spokesperson for the Labour Party, called the normalization of relations “a major step forward.” She told news bureau NTB that 50 years of sanctions had yielded no results, and that more trade and contact between the US and Cuba would likely contribute to more democracy in Cuba. “At a time when we see new conflicts and tensions in other parts of the world, it gives hope that the relationship between US and Cuba can normalize,” Huitfeldt said.
Other politicians from the Socialist Left to the Christian Democrats also praised the breakthrough. Norway has had diplomatic relations with Cuba for years and maintains an embassy in Havana. Solberg things normalization of relations with the US can also have some positive effects for Norwegian companies.
“It will make it a bit simpler for companies that want to do business both Cuba and the US,” Solbert told NRK. “For some companies, this can be a relief.”
The move comes as relations with Russian worsen. In the days of the Soviet Union, Cuba was a close ally and tensions with the US hit a peak during the Cuban missile crisis in the early 1960s. US President Barack Obama has now decided that it’s better to be friends than enemies with Cuba. Negotiation between the US and Cuba reportedly picked up in April, shortly after Russia’s highly dispute annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.