Official visit to Iceland: Speech during the President's dinner
Mr President, First Lady, Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen,
Góða kvöldið kæru vinir
First, I would like to thank you, President Jóhannesson, for welcoming me so warmly to Iceland. It is a great honour to represent Norway at this year’s Arctic Circle Assembly. And thank you so much for taking me to the hike, to the amazing Fagradalsfjall area this afternoon.
Both of us very much enjoyed it, getting out of the office ang get a bit fresh air. We should start every official visit with this type of hike. What an amazing area – very spectacular! To experience that is something I would definitely remember. Again – thank you so much!
Iceland and Norway are united by a common heritage and history.
Trust is the very core of our friendship. Together with our shared commitment and values, this trust is fundamental at a time in history when we are contending with climate change while at the same time dealing with other complex issues – such as war in Europe and a severe energy crisis. We need to stand together.
Our two countries are bound together by trade and culture, language and the sagas. Without Snorri and the other great Icelanders of the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, our knowledge and understanding of our common past would have been much poorer.
But today, our focus is on the future and what we can do to shape it in a positive way. What we know for sure, is that we must continue to maintain broad bilateral and regional cooperation.
We are thankful to Iceland for having created the Arctic Circle as an arena for high-level discussions on Arctic issues. Like Iceland, Norway stresses the importance of the Arctic as a region of cooperation, of research and knowledge.
But the Arctic is also a place where our people live. The future of the Arctic, and the North Atlantic as well, must be decided and shaped by those who live there.
In June I had a brief stopover in Akureyri on my way back from a trip to Greenland. From the plane I saw this beautiful island situated at the crossroads of the Greenland Sea in the north, the Norwegian Sea in the east, the Atlantic Ocean in the south and west.
It was powerful reminder that Iceland is a nation built on connections. Not just an island connecting Europe and North America, but connecting a region, peoples and communities. Through your profound knowledge and appreciation of culture and our shared history, Iceland also connects the past to the present.
This is the Nordic experience – decades of close integration and cooperation have made it clear that we are stronger together than individually, in good times, and in times of crisis.
Mr President, First Lady,
Thank you again for your warm welcome – and for hosting this dinner. I look very much forward to the rest of my stay here in your beautiful country.
I would like to invite you to join me in a toast to President Jóhannesson and the First Lady – and to the friendship between our two countries.