United Nations, New York, USA, June 22, 2018 – Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway and Ine Eriksen Soreide Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs During the launch of Norways campaign for an elected seat in the Security Council, term 2021-2022 today at the UN Headquarters Rose Garden in New York.
Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire
By Kurt Wheelock
When Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide appeared in the Rose Garden of UN Headquarters on June 22 to officially launch her country’s bid to be elected to a UN Security Council seat for 2021-22, the campaigning had already in essence begun. Norway has already lobbied Namibia, for example, for its vote. One of its two declared competitors, Ireland, has already invited ambassadors to a concert by band U2 in furtherance of its bid. Canada, on the other hand, is said to be slower in beginning the campaign declared by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Explaining Norway’s reasons for running, its Ambassador to the UN Kare R. Aas said that “Norway has consistently and actively contributed to peace, security and development. And we continue to spend one percent of our Gross National Income on development aid every year. Why is membership of the Security Council such a big deal for Norway? Because we think that through experience and expertise, we can contribute to the easing of tensions and to finding solutions when threats to our common security create widespread fear.”
On June 22 in the UN Rose Garden, Foreign Minister Soreide was flanked by Norway’s Crown Prince as she announced the campaign to the media. Of Norway’s Prime Minister Solberg, Aas has said she “has made global education, for girls in particular, one of her priorities. As a result, Norway has doubled its contributions in this area over the past four years. This has provided access to education for five times as many girls and boys around the world as there are students in the Norwegian primary education system. We see quality education as a foundation for economic empowerment, a basic building block for stability and hope for young people in conflict areas. “
On a topic on the Security Council’s agency, Sudan, only this week Norway along with the US and United Kingdom issued a statement of concern for the continuing fighting in Darfur: “The civilian population continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence, which has led to the burning down of villages, causing high numbers of civilian injury and death, and the displacement of nearly 9,000 people.It is unacceptable that the Government of Sudan has repeatedly prevented the African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur and humanitarian actors from accessing the areas of conflict and displaced populations. The Troika strongly urges the Government of Sudan to immediately provide unfettered access to both UNAMID and humanitarian actors.”
Ambassador Aas emphasized Norway’s history with UN peacekeeping: “Since the UN’s inception, more than 40,000 Norwegian men and women have served in UN operations across the globe. Specialized Norwegian military and police personnel have contributed significantly over the years, from Congo and Lebanon to Kosovo, Haiti and Mali. One of the young soldiers who wore the blue beret of the UN peacekeeping forces was Norway’s newly appointed Minister of Defense, Frank Bakke-Jensen. In the early 1990s he served in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Over the years, Norway has been invited as a facilitator for peace talks in several conflicts throughout the world. One recent example is Colombia. After 50 years of conflict, former enemies are now gradually building the country together.”
On a lighter note, when Europa Newswire on June 22 asked Foreign Minister Soreide why Norway is not in the World Cup 2018 being played in Russia, she jokingly replied that it is a “sensitive matter.” and she can’t answer that question. With the Russian presidency of the Security Council for June displaying a football next to its gavel on the Council’s horseshoe table, Norway would be right at home. But as with the run-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the campaign will be a long one.