25 October 202121:23

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Anniken Huitfeldt, Tromso, October 25, 2021

2166-25-10-2021

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Madam Minister,

I would like to thank you for your hospitality and for the meeting you have organised upon the arrival of our delegation in Tromso. As you mentioned, we immediately went to the memorial to the Red Army soldiers who perished in a concentration camp in Norway during the Nazi occupation. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to you, just as I did during my contacts with all my Norwegian friends, for the way in which the people and the Government of Norway are honouring the memory of the Red Army’s heroism during the liberation of Northern Norway.

I remember the ceremony held in Kirkenes to mark the anniversary of liberating Finnmark, which I attended at the invitation of my Norwegian friends. His Majesty King Harald V of Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide and other high guests were also present. The most striking feature was the poignant manner in which the residents of Kirkenes, including schoolchildren, celebrated the date and participated in the events. We were moved to tears.

The ceremony in Kirkenes, our meeting today and our attendance of the wreath-laying ceremony at the monument to the Red Army soldiers, just as this relic, show that we remember and revere the memory of those who gave their lives for the security and independence of our countries. There is probably nothing more valuable than the safety of every human being. Without safety there is no well-being, which is what all of us are striving for.

I hope that we will have a frank and trust-based dialogue, as per of our good tradition, to compare our views on ways to ensure security in this very complicated world, regardless of the ideological preferences of the NATO member states and the Russian Federation.

Thank you for inviting me to these talks. I am sure they will be productive.

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