Changes to Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad
OSLO, Norway, December 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “The global balance of power is shifting towards the south and the east. A number of countries are playing a more significant role due both to their economic strength and their international ambitions. In order to safeguard Norwegian interests effectively, it is therefore important that we continue the process of moving the Foreign Service’s resources to where they are most needed,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
In recent years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strengthened Norway’s presence in countries such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, China and Russia. In order to do this, several diplomatic and consular missions have been closed and staff levels at other missions have been reduced. A total of eight missions were closed in 2011 and 2012. During the same period, a new embassy was opened in Accra (Ghana) and a joint Nordic embassy office was opened in Yangon (Myanmar).
“As well as ensuring that we have missions in countries where we can best promote Norway’s interests, it is also important that we organise the Foreign Service in such a way that we can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by information technology. We can also improve the efficiency of the Foreign Service by establishing joint Nordic missions. The recently established embassy office in Yangon is a good example of this type of Nordic cooperation,” said Mr Eide.
The following changes to Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad are planned in 2013:
Latin America: In the light of political and economic developments in the region, as well as the security situation in Venezuela, a decision has been taken to close the embassy in Caracas (Venezuela) and re-establish an embassy in Bogotá (Colombia). The Colombian economy is undergoing rapid growth and the Colombian Government is pursuing an active reform policy. Norway has for many years been involved in peace and reconciliation efforts relating to the internal conflict in Colombia and provides considerable humanitarian assistance to the country. Several Norwegian organisations also have extensive activities in Colombia.
Africa: As announced earlier in 2012, changes are also being made to Norway’s diplomatic presence in Africa. The embassy in Asmara (Eritrea) is to be closed. Another mission in the region will then be given responsibility for Eritrea. The embassies in Abuja (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya) will be given extra resources in order to strengthen their efforts vis-à-vis Niger and Somalia respectively. In addition, staff levels at some missions in Africa will be reduced in order to free up resources.
Further changes to the Foreign Service are planned for 2014. The Ministry will, for example, look more closely at Norway’s presence in Africa and make any necessary adjustments.
Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs