The U.S. will open its first diplomatic mission above the Arctic Circle, which will be its northernmost such facility in the world.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a Thursday press conference after attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo, Norway, that the U.S. will open an "American presence post" in Tromsø, Norway, a city 350 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the Hill reports.
The facility, scheduled to open later in the year, will be staffed by one diplomat holding the position of consul.
"We're here to work with like-minded allies to advance our vision of a peaceful, stable and cooperative Arctic," Blinken said.
There originally was a diplomatic office in Tromsø, but the State Department closed it following the Cold War, after a reshuffling of diplomatic offices.
The post will be an opportunity for the U.S. to have a "diplomatic footprint" in the Arctic Circle, Blinken said, adding that the U.S. has long-standing bilateral relations with Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Blinken added that Finland's recent acceptance into NATO and Sweden's application to the alliance, of which Norway is already a member, "strengthens the incredibly strong foundation" the countries have had with the U.S.
He said, "Our entire approach is to make sure that the Arctic remains an area of peaceful cooperation. It's one of the things that, especially in a world that is evermore challenged, that it's also evermore vital to preserve. And we're determined to do that."
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt stated that Norway and the U.S. have a "long and proud history" of collaboration on issues relating to the Arctic, saying "I welcome U.S. plans to establish a presence post in Tromsø this year, which I am sure will further strengthen our close cooperation."
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