Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will strengthen its diplomatic presence in several countries in 2011, this applies in Brazil, India, Indonesia, China and Russia. To actualize this initiative, five embassies will be closed, and personnel reductions will be implemented in some other countries.
– There is a shift in economic and political power in the world, towards the south and east, particularly Asia, which will play a more prominent role. This will also have consequences for Norwegian interests. Therefore I have decided to strengthen Norway's diplomatic presence in these regions, "said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.
The Foreign Minister noted they are changing Norway's presence to give priority to this initiative. With this reorganization, Norwegian interests in a changing world are aimed to be promoted better. Støre also told that the planned changes are part of an ongoing process that will continue untill 2012-2013.
– In recent years, Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in collaboration with professionals both nationally and internationally, focused on Norwegian challenges and opportunities in a globalized world. The changes we are now doing is a part of this work. We have to assess where we need our diplomatic resources and presence, "said Minister.
In 2011, the Ministry will implement the following changes in Norway's diplomatic presence abroad:
Five foreign missions will be phased: Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Bogota (Colombia), Dili (East Timor), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Managua (Nicaragua). Norwegian interests in these countries will in future be attended by other foreign missions in the affected regions. For West Africa, a new embassy in Accra (Ghana) is considered to be opened.
Norway maintains its presence in Antananarivo (Madagascar), but reduce staffing and embassy converts to a subdivision of an existing foreign service mission in the region. Embassy in Brussels with responsibility for relations with Belgium maintained, but staff is reduced. There will also be staff reductions in other individual stations, including in the Nordic region and Europe.