MPs finally made it to Moscow

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Relations between Russia and Norway haven’t been their best lately, leading to the controversial cancellation of a parliamentary delegation last year, when one of its members was denied a visa. Last week members of the Parliament’s defense and foreign relations committee finally landed in Moscow, for the first time in seven years.

Newspaper Aftenposten was on hand to cover their arrival, which was delayed by 15 months. “One of the things that defines relations between two good neighbours is that we have an open dialog and are open with each other,” claimed the leader of the committee, Anniken Huitfeldt of the Labour Party. She claimed the group was “very glad” to visit Moscow late last week.

“Very nice to see you here,” responded her Russian counterpart, ConstantineKosatsjev, speaking in Swedish. He served earlier as a diplomat in Stockholm. He described political relations between Norway and Russia as “weak,” because of what Aftenposten cited was “a lack of understanding for each other’s intentions and goals.” He added that he hoped such high-level meetings could occur more often, “even though we don’t always agree.”

There was no mention of Russia’s detention of the former Norwegian border inspector Frode Berg, who’s being held in Moscow on espionage charges. “We have full confidence that our foreign minstry is handling that,” Huitfeldt told Aftenposten. Her committee colleague Christian Tybring-Gjedde said discussions at the meeting otherwise were “general” in nature and didn’t easily get into concrete problems. Huitfeldt preferred to stress the areas where Norway and Russia still cooperate well, especially within fishing.

newsinenglish.no staff