On Friday (24 March 2023) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre to NATO Headquarters. They discussed NATO’s role in the protection of undersea critical infrastructure, which is vital for the security of Allies. Last week, the two men visited the Troll A natural gas platform, off the coast of Norway, together with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Mr Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is stepping up work on securing critical infrastructure, with increased military presence, greater situational awareness, and enhanced cooperation with international partners and the private sector.
Mr Stoltenberg thanked Prime Minister Gahr Støre for Norway’s leading role in helping the Alliance to understand and address challenges in the High North, including by hosting NATO exercises like the recently concluded Joint Viking, the largest military winter drill in Arctic Europe in 2023. He also thanked Norway for other contributions to NATO, including serving in the multinational battlegroup in Lithuania. He welcomed Norway’s significant aid to Ukraine and stressed the need to continue sustaining assistance for Ukraine, as it resists Russia’s illegal war.
The two leaders also addressed the accession of Finland and Sweden. Mr Stoltenberg said, “I welcome that Türkiye and Hungary are ready to ratify Finland’s membership of NATO – and I hope that both will do so swiftly” He stressed that, “for me, it is a top priority to make sure that Sweden’s accession is also ratified as soon as possible,” because their accession will make NATO stronger and demonstrate that NATO’s door remains open.