|Wikileaks:||View 06OSLO101 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||PREL NO ENGR|
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000101 SIPDIS FOR S AND P ASUNCION FOR DCM JOHNSON E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2016 TAGS: PREL, NO, ENGR SUBJECT: A/S FRIED'S VISIT: NORWAY AN ENERGY SECURITY PLAYER Classified By: Ambassador Benson K. Whitney for reasons 1.4 b and d 1. (C) Summary. A/S Fried met with Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere and continued our "High North Dialogue" with Deputy Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand during his January 26-27 visit to Oslo to participate in an E-PINE Political Directors' meeting (reported septel). Stoere enthusiastically presented the growing global strategic importance of the Barents region's energy resources, noting that Norway has an important role to play as a "reliable, predictable, and long-term" supplier of oil and gas. Stoere was optimistic that Norway would be able to resolve the decades-long maritime border dispute with Russia, clearing the way for energy development in the "disputed zone," an area larger than the North Sea production zone. The Foreign Minister reiterated his invitation to the Secretary to visit Norway, specifically the North. The Foreign Minister said he was on the same page as the EU-3 and us on referring Iran to the UNSC. End Summary. Norway's Northern Region: A Key to Future Energy Needs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - 2. (C) As he is prone to do, Foreign Minister Stoere confidently presented the growing strategic importance of the Barents region to global energy security in a meeting with A/S Dan Fried and DAS Mark Pekala January 27. Norway is a "reliable, predictable, and long-term" supplier of oil and gas and by all estimates will tap even more resources in the coming decade, the FM explained. Norway will begin shipping Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) out of its Snow White facility in 2007 to the United States. Snow White is forecast to meet about 6 percent of U.S. LNG import needs and could supply as much as 10-15 percent over the next decade. 3. (C) The Foreign Minister noted that he had discussed with U/S Nick Burns the idea of holding a seminar at the State Department in the next few months to raise awareness on the growing importance of the Arctic region and to continue the ongoing High North dialogue with us. A/S Fried welcomed the idea of such a session and agreed to pursue it further. A/S Fried noted that in light of the recent Russia/Ukraine gas crisis, ongoing problems in Eurasia, and mounting Polish energy supply concerns; the timing is ripe for looking at what Norway can do to improve energy security in the region. Norway is the model: "transparent, reliable, environmentally conscious," remarked Fried. Stoere replied: "we will never switch off" supply of gas/oil and added that Norway's approach is to be at full capacity always and that the time is now to discuss where new resources would be exported to as it comes on line. Deal on Maritime Border Dispute with Russia within Reach? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 4. (C) Turning to the unresolved maritime boundary with Russia in the Barents, FM Stoere told A/S Fried that Norway and Russia have agreed on how to delineate "about 80 percent" of the border and that he was optimistic that remaining issues could be resolved. Stoere said Norway was ready to reach a deal, but after waiting for over 30 years, was prepared to wait some more if necessary. Stoere said he plans to meet FM Lavrov February 17 and commented that when he last met Lavrov he asked him whether he could get an agreement through the Duma -- Lavrov was confident he could. Russia: a "Demanding Partner" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5. (C) In the High North discussion with Deputy Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand the previous day, Skogrand told Fried that the Norway-Russian relationship is probably as good now as it has ever been. Skogrand noted the some problems had arisen lately -- disputes over fishing rights in the Barents Sea and most recently the healthfulness of Norwegian salmon -- but, on the whole, Norway feels that it is being treated as a partner by Russia, even if Russia admittedly is a "demanding partner." The Norwegians remain concerned about freedom of the press/NGOs and corruption/lack of transparency in the Russian energy sector. 6. (C) Continuing on the energy theme, Skogrand stated that Norway would like to see an American company involved in the development of the Russian Shtokman natural gas field in the Barents Sea, stating that only the U.S. and Norway can develop the project in an environmentally sound way. Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Statoil, NorskHydro, and Total are on the Russian's the short-list. With Lavrov due to meet FM Stoere in February, the Norwegians are expecting a decision from Gazprom soon. 7. (C) A/S Fried reported on his recent visit to Poland, where energy security, particularly access to stable natural gas suppliers, was a key topic. He thanked Norway for its role as a dependable energy supplier and stated that Norway was part of the solution to European energy security. Fried continued saying that Norway could play a key role in providing non-Gazprom controlled supplies to Europe, especially Poland, which is interested. Deputy FM Skogrand agreed that energy security was a top priority and added that it is a key component of the High North dialogue. Skogrand made clear that Norway will remain a stable energy partner and welcomes new markets, but is currently producing all the natural gas that it can. Norway On Same Page Regarding NATO's Future. . . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8. (C) Skogrand and A/S Fried enjoyed a lengthy exchange on the shared vision for NATO's future, including the U.S. "two-summit" strategy for 2006-2008. The transatlantic relationship remains a pillar of Norwegian security policy, Skogrand emphasized. Skogrand agreed it was important to look for opportunities for NATO to engage constructively in advancing broad Alliance objectives. Specifically, Skogrand referred to the work NATO is undertaking to help the African Union with logistical support in Sudan. . . . And Agrees With EU-3 Position on Iran - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9. (C) Turning to Iran, A/S Fried stressed the importance of the U.S. and European consensus on referring Iran to the UNSC. It is important that there be steady and incremental pressure on Iran, Fried argued. Skogrand quickly agreed and stated that Norway was firmly in line with the EU3 position. He added that there needs to be a consensus to pressure Iran, but added that "a consensus to do nothing is worth nothing." Norway wants to remain in close contact on the issue. An Explanation on Cuba - - - - - - - - - - - - 10. (C) A/S Fried questioned Norway's decision to not invite dissidents to its Embassy's May 17th national day celebration in Havana. Skogrand stated that it is more critical to keep a dialogue with an old leader's regime than to invite dissidents to a one-day celebration. He assured Fried that Norway would not allow Castro to dictate the terms for the bilateral relationship. Fried urged Skogrand to consider undertaking a meaningful effort to demonstrate their continuing commitment to the dissidents. No More Surprises - - - - - - - - - 11. (C) A/S Fried thanked the Foreign Minister for his prompt and correct response to the Finance Minister's outrageous call for a boycott of Israel earlier this month. Fried urged that we not have any more surprises. Separately, DAS Pekala reiterated the point that the recent Cuba decision had also taken us aback. 12. (U) Participants in the High North discussion and meeting with FM Stoere included: U.S. - - Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried Ambassador Whitney DAS Mark Pekala P/E Chief Mike Hammer E-PINE Coordinator Mark Evans P/E David Henry (notetaker) Norway - - - - Deputy Foreign Minister Kjetil Skogrand DAS Trine Skymoen Office Director Anita Nergaard Office Director Erik Svedahl FM COS Oystein Bo U.S. Desk Officer Tora Faeste 13. (U) A/S Fried cleared this message. Visit Oslo's Classified website: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m WHITNEY NNNN
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