Obama and Nordic Leaders Launch New Security Dialogue

President Obama and Nordic leadersExcerpt from Joint Statement by Kingdom of Denmark, Republic of Finland, Republic of Iceland, Kingdom of Norway, Kingdom of Sweden, and the United States of America

The United States and the Nordic countries share the goal of a stable and peaceful Middle East.  We agree that all relevant parties must work urgently for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  We are determined to work together to promote respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Egypt.  With regard to the situation in Syria, we strongly condemn any and all use of chemical weapons, and we are convinced a strong international reaction is required.  Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable.

We recognize the importance of cooperation between our countries in building comprehensive security and addressing security issues in the 21st century, including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illicit international arms trade, and threats to cyber security.  We also recognize that we must address these challenges in a manner that respects our most cherished values and protects universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are at the foundation of all flourishing democracies.  We note the need to continue to strengthen our countries’ important contributions to regional, transatlantic, and international forums, including in the EU, NATO, and NATO Partnership context.  We recommit to continuing and expanding our security, recognizing that this cooperation – with and among the Nordic countries, with other regional partners, including especially the Baltic states, and in transatlantic and international fora – will be crucial to our success. 

To complement our already robust bilateral and regional security cooperation, we agree to launch a U.S.-Nordic Security Dialogue, which will meet annually to discuss opportunities for collaboration on global and regional security issues, focusing primarily on issues arising in the United Nations, including an integrated approach to preventive diplomacy, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and atrocity prevention.  Another stream of work will include joint capacity building efforts to promote stabilization in fragile and conflict affected states – linking up security and development efforts, and civilian and military partners.

Recognizing that we still have work to do closer to home, we agree on our mutual commitment to deepening regional cooperation and continuing to pursue our common vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. 

We underscore the importance of actions that can support a global economic recovery, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.   T-TIP aims to boost economic growth in the United States and the EU and add to the more than 13 million American and EU jobs already supported by transatlantic trade and investment.  We also look forward to exploring ways we can bolster trade and investment between the United States and Norway and Iceland.  We also emphasize our commitment to achieving significant and substantive outcomes at the 9th World Trade Organization Ministerial.

Image: President Obama and Nordic leaders (photo: Swedish Foreign Ministry)