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Embassy News

Kirkenes visit highlights Arctic cooperation

(February 8-9, 2012)
Ambassador White speaking at the Kirkenes Conference

Ambassador White speaking at the Kirkenes Conference

Ambassador White samples dried reindeer heart prepared by local culinary arts students.

Ambassador White samples dried reindeer heart prepared by local culinary arts students.

On February 8-9, Ambassador White travelled to Kirkenes, to attend the annual Kirkenes Conference. The two-day conference is focused on Arctic policy and cooperation in the Barents Sea region, and drew a large number of officials, experts and business people from Northern Norway, the Nordics and other neighboring countries like Russia, and the Baltics.
 
In his speech, Ambassador White stressed the U.S. Government’s view of the Arctic as an area for cooperation, and not competition (kan vi legge ut talen?). He cited the finalization of the Barents Delimitation Agreement between Norway and Russia and successful cooperation between members in the Arctic Council as examples of positive and peaceful interaction, and refuted the claim that there is in any way a “race to the Arctic”.
 
Ambassador White also took the time to visit the local high school and spoke to a sizeable group of students about the U.S.-Norway relationship, the life of a diplomat, the U.S. elections and opportunities for student exchange. After the program, the Ambassador had the chance to meet with two students who had just returned from a year abroad in Wisconsin and California, respectively, and was treated to lunch-buffet based on local ingredients, prepared by the students in the school’s culinary arts program.
 
You can read more about the U.S. Arctic policy here: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd-66.htm