Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt will begin a four-day visit to Georgia and Armenia today.
In Georgia, Huitfeldt will meet with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and other leaders to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties. In addition to opening a new embassy, she will discuss the expansive civil project portfolio Norway funds in the Caucasian state. Similarly, in Armenia Huitfeldt will meet with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and other political leaders, as well as civil leaders working to promote to human rights.
The overarching theme of Huitfeldt’s trip will be solidarity. Both countries face threats to their sovereignty: Georgia has struggled for decades to fend off recurring threats from Russia, while Armenia’s ongoing conflict with Azerbaijan has severely destabilized the region.
Huitfeldt’s visit comes at Russia’s expense, as it has long positioned itself as the region’s peace keeper. However, its increasing presence in Ukraine means Russia has fewer troops to spare, increasing the need of countries like Armenia—and the opportunity for countries like Georgia—to look for support elsewhere. Huitfeldt’s trip is unlikely to increase Norwegian influence in the short-term or smooth regional conflict. Still, Norway’s efforts underscore’s Russia’s struggle to maintain its various spheres of influence.
Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.