Let me first of all thank you for the invitation to brief the committee. I highly appreciate you taking the time to discuss the Royal Visit of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway. I know you have very busy schedules indeed, and other important items on the agenda of the PRC.
I will be brief, but remain available to answer any questions you may have, either in this room or at any other time.
As you know, there will be an official visit by Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to Ethiopia on 7 - 9 November. It is the first time in 51 years that we have a royal visit to Ethiopia. In 1966 the late King Olav V - Grandfather of the Crown Prince - was here on a state visit upon invitation of emperor Haile Selassie. He visited Addis Ababa and Yirgalem, and he also visited the OAU. There is therefore a clear historic background to this visit, and it was obvious – both for me personally and Oslo – from the very beginning that we wanted to show our respect for the organization by having a significant part of the visit at the AU.
We are delighted that H.E. Chairperson Moussa Faki has confirmed that he will receive TRH at the AU for a courtesy call, and it is our understanding that he will also be present for the proposed speech to the PRC and invited guests (on 7 November at 3pm).
This will be a key part of the Royal Visit. Our strategic partnership with the AU is of the utmost importance. Building on strong and good historical ties between Africa and Norway, this partnership reflects the increasingly important role played by the AU, representing both a continent and an organisation that is on the rise.
Kindly allow me, excellencies, to run through the main elements of our partnership: Our strategic partnership is formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding, which covers three main areas: i) peace and security, ii) democracy and governance, and iii) sustainable development and job creation.
We have well-established cooperation in a number of areas, including various types of support to the AU Peace and Security Department, support to the Political Department’s efforts on election observation, preventive diplomacy and human rights, a collaboration on migration through the Department for Social Affairs, a significant collaboration on education through AU-CIEFFA, and numerous efforts to enhance the AU-UN partnership.
Currently, consultations are underway to strengthen cooperation in the areas of the Blue Economy and maritime issues, green growth, natural resource management related to conflict and peace support operations, and economic integration in Africa, as well as further cooperation in the area of preventive diplomacy and mediation.
We are also in consultations with the AU to enter into a new overall framework agreement in 2018, which will allow us to support new areas through the AU budget.
This is a strategic partnership of utmost and also increasing importance.
I am very pleased and humbled that HRH the Crown Prince might be given the chance to address the PRC. The PRC is for me the ideal place to address AU and the continent; I highly appreciate the positive attitude from this council towards the visit.
I would also like to inform you about what the main elements of HRH the Crown Prince’s speech will be. Main topics will be: i) Norway’s long-standing historical and strategic relationship with the African continent (this will include Norway’s support to the liberation struggle, development cooperation and trade), ii) Norway’s strategic partnership with the AU, iii) the importance of the AU as a global actor (particularly on issues linked to development, such as implementing Agenda 2063 and the SDGs), and iv) the importance of Norwegian collaboration with the AU and the African continent on issues of mutual interest in multilateral fora.
We will also present Norway’s candidature to the UN Security Council for 2021-22, where we hope to get strong support from the continent.
Following the speech, the Norwegian Embassy would like to offer a cocktail reception in the courtyard under the bridge just behind us.
I hope that you will continue to consider our humble request favorably, and I look forward to strong continued collaboration both on this and other issues.
Excellencies, thank you for your kind attention.