RIYADH: The Norwegian ambassador to Saudi Arabia hailed relations between the two countries as the Scandinavian nation on Tuesday celebrated its national day.
And Thomas Lid Ball predicted that the long-established bonds would only strengthen over the coming years.
The envoy made his comments during a ceremony at the Norwegian Embassy to mark his country’s Constitution Day, an event attended by a number of guests including Saudi government officials, business leaders, and Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz who was present on behalf of Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar.
In a speech, the Norwegian diplomat said: “Our bilateral relations are growing. Norway has enjoyed excellent relations with the Kingdom since they were officially established back in 1961.
“To all Saudi brothers and sisters who are here today, I would like to say that we greatly appreciate our long-standing bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia. As a Norway ambassador, I would like to further those relations in the years to come.
“One key dimension of Norway’s engagement in Saudi Arabia and vice versa is fuel production. What Saudi Arabia and Norway have in common, is that we are producing oil and gas. Of course, Norway is small in comparison to Saudi Arabia.
“We also have a common political commitment to cut emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality by making energy production greener, through new technologies.
“For example, carbon capture and storage by investing in renewables, in hydrogen, and protecting our marine resources, producing sustainable seafood, and breeding maritime industries by aiming for green technologies and carbon neutrality to act in all sectors. And there is no time to lose in this field. We must accelerate our efforts.
“People in the Middle East feel impacted by climate change already. I believe that the public awareness around this issue will only grow as this region is hosting the next two climate summits,” he added.
He pointed out that the business community and industries across many sectors had key roles to play in bringing forward the technologies to know-how and the implementation capacity that was required for the green transition.
The envoy noted that Norway’s constitution, from 1814, was one of the oldest in the world and when signed on May 17 of that year marked the beginning of a modern sovereign and democratic country, laying the foundations for a parliament, power sharing, and civil rights.
He said: “This year, unfortunately, our national day happens at a time of war in Europe. Millions of innocent civilians need protection and lifestyle-saving assistance. The wide-ranging consequences of Russia having provoked an awful attack on Ukraine has been felt throughout the world, not least in Yemen, and other countries where many people are vulnerable to price rises.
“Rarely on our Constitution Day, has it been more essential to emphasize the rights of every sovereign nation to determine its own future and to stress the critical importance of international law and the UN Charter,” he added.
“On our national day, we also honor the Kingdom of Norway, our royal family,” he said, before reading out an email from the Norwegian king and queen conveying a message of peace, harmony, and best wishes.