US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t spare her praise for Norway or downplay the close relations between the US and Norway during her remarks at a government luncheon held in her honor in Oslo on Friday. Her thank-you speech to her Norwegian hosts could only be described as positively glowing.
The ties between Norway and the US aren’t only political, with Clinton referring to the millions of Norwegian-Americans living “not only in Minnesota” as a result of major immigration to the US. “We in the United States have no doubt that the export of Norwegians only added to our capacity, but did not subtract from yours,” Clinton said, to smiles and chuckles from the crowd of Norwegian government leaders, Members of Parliament, party leaders and business leaders.
Clinton, in remarks covered by state broadcaster NRK, seemed genuinely happy to be in Norway, even relaxed. “We don’t have any problems that we are confronting, we don’t have any difficult issues we are negotiating,” she told her luncheon audience at the historic Akershus Fortress and Castle, without ignoring that both countries do have “a lot of work ahead of us” that she can’t imagine tackling without the level of cooperation that she believes exists between Norway and the US.
Clinton said her government values “so greatly” not only the “partnership” between the two countries, but, in a direct address to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the partnership “you have with President Obama.” On issues of security and peace, on human rights and development, Clinton said “the US has no better partner than Norway.”
She also praised ties between the Norwegian and American business communities, claiming they are “profitable to us both” and have led to innovation and job creation. She said that Norway’s presence at the recent NATO summit in Chicago also “exemplified this level of consultation and collaboration.”
Clinton said she was looking forward to visit “the High North” with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre during her stay in Norway: “I think Norway’s leadership in the Arctic Council and on all issues Arctic is visionary and we strongly support it, and wish to be more knowledgeable in order to do so.”
She also extended special thanks to Stoltenberg personally, for his emphasis on global health issues, in particular maternal health, saying that joint efforts between the US and Norway and other countries “can keep mothers alive.”
Addressing all the others assembled for the luncheon with Clinton, she claimed they were “joined by common values,” not least a “commitment to democracy” that is “slowly but surely taking root” far beyond Norwegian and US borders.
“I’d just like to to express what I hope your government and the people of Norway already know,” she said, “that the United States appreciates all that we do together, what you stand for, who you are. That’s the primary reason I’m here today.”
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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