Defence cooperation between Norway and Latvia
Their Majesties The King and Queen accompanied His Excellency President Andris Bērziņš on board the MS Baronen this morning. The vessel was later boarded by Norwegian special forces soldiers.
Norwegian-Latvian defence cooperation was the focus of the second day of President Bērziņš’ State Visit to Norway. Defence policy cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened as a result of collaboration in NATO, and both countries attach great importance to binding international cooperation, said King Harald in his speech on Wednesday evening. The King also expressed his admiration of the Latvian people’s strong will for peace:
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. It was a war that affected our histories and our nations in different ways. The occupation of Norway lasted for five years. It took Latvia considerably longer to regain its independence. The perseverance and will for freedom of the Latvians is impressive. In 1989, the people of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania formed a human chain that stretched over 600 kilometres between the three capitals. This peaceful, singing revolution won the admiration of the entire world!”
Boat stormed mid-fjord
This morning, the King and Queen accompanied President Bērziņš on board the MS Baronen for a trip on the Oslo Fjord. In the middle of the fjord the catamaran was stormed by soldiers from the Naval Special Operations Command and the Norwegian Special Forces Command, who demonstrated how they take control over a vessel.
Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and Norwegian Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen were the hosts of the manoeuvre, after which King Harald, Queen Sonja and President Bērziņš were given a more detailed briefing on security and defence cooperation between Norway and Latvia.
Luncheon at the Oslo Military Society
After the defence demonstration, the King and Queen were the guests at a luncheon hosted by the President of Latvia at the Oslo Military Society. Their Royal Highnesses The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were also in attendance, together with Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner.
President Bērziņš is concluding his State Visit to Norway later this afternoon, following a meeting with representatives of the Latvian community in Norway at an event hosted by the Embassy of Latvia in Oslo.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.