US embassy cable - 06OSLO86

AMBASSADOR'S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON DEPUTY FM STUBHOLT CENTERS ON HIGH NORTH

Identifier: 06OSLO86
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO86 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-26 12:00:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Tags: PREL PGOV EPET ENRG SENV NO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS  OSLO 000086 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NB DALLAND; EB/ESC/IEC GALLOGLY 
DOE FOR U/S GARMAN; S-3 FOR GBISCONTI; PI FOR DCONOVER, 
JBRODMAN, EROSSI; LEKIMOFF 
ASUNCION FOR DCM JOHNSON 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EPET, ENRG, SENV, NO 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR'S INTRODUCTORY CALL ON DEPUTY FM 
STUBHOLT CENTERS ON HIGH NORTH 
 
 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (SBU) "High North" issues -- energy, the 
environment, non-proliferation and cooperation with 
Russia -- dominated the Ambassador's January 25 
introductory call on Deputy Foreign Minister Liv Monica 
Stubholt.  Stubholt stressed that the new government's 
High North policy was national, rather than regional, 
in scope, and that its fundamental objectives were 
international in nature.  Norway, said Stubholt, was 
cognizant that it could not achieve its goals in the 
High North alone -- international dialogue and 
cooperation were necessary to address such key High 
North issues as bringing the region's significant 
energy resources to market in an environmentally sound 
manner and protecting its fish stocks.  Russia's role 
would be critical, particularly given the anticipated 
development of its Barents Sea energy resources. 
Stubholt emphasized that the timing was right for 
discussing with Norway's international partners, 
including the United States, how best to manage the 
interrelated High North issues of energy development 
and transport, the environment, climate change and non- 
proliferation.  The Ambassador, who will visit the High 
North region next week, told Stubholt he looked forward 
to continuing a productive bilateral High North 
dialogue and hoped to find practical ways to contribute 
to policy successes in the region that served both 
nation's interests.  End Summary. 
 
National Policy, International Objectives 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Stubholt, one of two Deputy FMs who share the 
High North portfolio, told the Ambassador that the new 
government's ambition was to transform High North 
policy from its former regional focus into a national 
policy with "international objectives."  The stronger 
national emphasis on High North policy was intended to 
benefit all of society, not just the northern 
provinces.  Recognizing that it could not achieve its 
goals in the High North alone, Norway's international 
objectives were to open a multilateral dialogue and 
attain an international "meeting of the minds" on key 
issues, e.g. protecting the  environment, maintaining 
fish stocks, and developing energy resources. 
Pollutants and fish, noted Stubholt, do not respect 
borders. 
 
Importance of Regional and Human Dimensions 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU) Though Norway's High North policy was 
international in scope, Stubholt emphasized its 
important regional aspects.  The new government was 
giving greater attention to regional policy and 
providing local officials and the public a stronger 
voice.  Local cooperation and support would be vital to 
achieving Norway's aims in the High North. 
 
4. (SBU) Stubholt also noted High North issues' human 
dimensions.  Birth rates were rising sharply in 
Hammerfest, for example, because Statoil's 
multibillion-dollar Snoehvit natural gas project there 
gave local residents more confidence in their future. 
Greater High North cooperation with Russia would 
enhance people-to-people contacts in the region, 
playing off the reservoir of goodwill toward Russia for 
liberating the area in World War II. 
 
Interdependence of High North Issues 
------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Stubholt stressed the interdependence of 
various High North issues, particularly with respect to 
Russia's role.  Extracting the region's petroleum 
resources, for example, raised serious health and 
 
 
environmental concerns.  It was important that Norway 
work with Russia and other international partners to 
deal with the impact of developing Russia's High North 
petroleum resources.  Alluding to concerns about 
increasing Russian oil tanker traffic through the 
Barents, Stubholt said the "transportation phase" of 
energy development required greater attention.  Key 
question were what standards would govern petroleum 
transport to help prevent environmental mishaps and who 
would impose them, e.g. concerned governments, 
customers, and/or "the market." 
 
6. (SBU) Stubholt and the Ambassador also discussed the 
interrelationship between High North non-proliferation 
and environmental concerns, particularly how the debate 
over climate change, a matter of obvious concern in the 
Arctic, had opened the door to the possible 
resurrection of nuclear power.  Though building a 
nuclear power plant in Norway was inconceivable, 
Stubholt noted that neighboring Finland was 
constructing a fifth nuclear power plant with security 
concerns utmost in mind. 
 
The Time to Discuss the Future is Now 
---------------------------------------- 
 
7. (SBU) Stubholt stressed that the timing was right 
for addressing High North issues.  Given the long lead 
times required for developing major energy projects 
like Russia's Shtokman gas field, there was ample time 
for deciding how best to bring High North resources to 
markets in a safe and environmentally-friendly way. 
Concerned governments could help shape the future but 
the dialogue should begin now. 
 
8. (SBU) The Ambassador agreed that energy would be the 
most visible and sensitive High North issue.  The issue 
was multidimensional, ranging from global energy 
security to the human level, given affordable energy's 
importance to economic development and rising living 
standards.  The Ambassador said he looked forward to 
continuing a productive bilateral dialogue on High 
North issues and pledged to cooperate in a practical 
way to facilitate policy successes that advanced our 
mutual interests. 
 
WHITNEY 
 
UNCLASSIFIED4 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
NNNN 

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