The Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested immediately through diplomatic channels when it became aware that members of the Standing Committee had been denied entry to Russia. ‘We have protested and made it clear to Russia that we consider this decision to be unjustified and unreasonable,’ said Mr Brende. ‘We have urged the Russian authorities to reconsider the matter. All along, we have hoped that it would be possible to find a solution, given that the visit is in response to an official invitation to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence from the Chair of the Council of the Federation Committee for Foreign Affairs.
‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called in the Russian Ambassador today to reiterate our protest. Meetings between parliamentarians form an important part of our political dialogue. The planned visit from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence would have brought this dialogue forward,’ said Mr Brende.
The reason given by the Russian authorities for their decision is that Norway has implemented the EU’s restrictive measures against Russia and has made these measures applicable to Svalbard as well. Norway is implementing these restrictive measures in response to Russia’s violations of international law in Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assists members of the Storting with visa applications in connection with official delegations, as a matter of routine.