DiplomaticQuarter: Norwegian ambassador hails ‘very solid relationship’ with Saudi Arabia
Norway’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia said his country’s relationship with the Kingdom was “very solid,” as the Scandinavian country celebrated its national day on Wednesday.
Thomas Lid Ball told Arab News said that the long-established bonds between the two countries in various sectors would only strengthen over the coming years.
“I think we have had a very solid relationship between Saudi Arabia and Norway for many years. We have several things in common, notably that we are nations that have been dependent on oil and gas,” he said.
“Our shared ambition is a green transition, in which we are producing oil and gas in a cleaner way and are shifting toward renewable energy. And in this, we have a lot in common and a lot of things to gain, I think from cooperating more closely.
“We have many new ways from companies within oil and gas supply that are working here and I think more are coming, with great opportunities in the Kingdom undergoing transformation.”
Norway has enjoyed good diplomatic relations with the Kingdom since they were established in 1961.
“To all Saudi brothers and sisters who are here tonight, I would like to say that we greatly appreciate our long-standing bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia,” Ball told guests at an event at the Norwegian Embassy to mark his country’s national day.
“As a Norway ambassador, I would like to further those relations in the years to come.”
Among the guests at the event were Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region Prince Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud, government officials, diplomats and business leaders.
Ball told Arab News there were many industries in which Norway and Saudi Arabia were cooperating, including fisheries and construction.
“We have a long coastline in both countries. So we have shipping, we have fisheries, we have all sorts of companies that are interested in Saudi Arabia these days,” he said.
“At the national day reception here, we have some seafood from Norway. There are many companies now. I am joining five, six of them in Jeddah next week, where we are going to look at aquaculture opportunities in Saudi Arabia, so we actually can produce the seafood inside the Kingdom. Some of it will be land based, so there are exciting opportunities.”
Norway has a thriving aquaculture industry, producing more than half of the world’s farmed Atlantic salmon and exporting to more than 100 countries. Sales of Norwegian salmon to Saudi Arabia totaled $27 million in 2019.
Ball also thanked the Kingdom for its support in evacuating Norwegian and other citizens from Sudan.
“I used this opportunity to thank the deputy governor for what I think was outstanding assistance by Saudi Arabia during the big crisis in Sudan,” he said.
“There was first the evacuation out of Khartoum and other cities, but then it was out of Port Sudan through Jeddah and onto the capitals in our countries.
“We could not have made it without Saudi Arabia. We have evacuated 133 Norwegians from Sudan.”