NORTHFIELD, Minnesota — Norway's prime minister traveled nearly 4,000 miles to Minnesota this week ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was firm in his stance in helping Ukraine against who he calls authoritarian rulers.
"It’s so important, "he said. "Not only about supporting Ukraine in the moment of life and death for that nation, but it’s also about standing up for principles and not letting authoritarian rulers simply have it their way."
Gahr Støre visited Kyiv this summer and met with Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He pledged five years of support to go toward military and civilian aid during the war with Russia.
While speaking at St. Olaf on Monday, Gahr Støre mentioned his appreciation for the United States supporting Ukraine, and also spoke about his Nordic neighbors Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
Gahr Støre got candid about the value in the countries in Europe aligning themselves in allegiances that they believe in. He says it's the first time all five main Nordic countries are banding together for the first time in hundreds of years.
"Ukraine was attacked. This is self-defense. Ukraine has the right to defend itself and we have the right to help them," Gahr Støre said.
Gahr Støre dove into environmental topics, too. Norway is known for their progressive climate policies and initiatives. He hopes it will inspire other nations.
"As a country, our main focus isn’t oil and gas, it’s getting our way out of oil and gas," Gahr Støre said.
St. Olaf welcomed the prime minister with open arms as it's the first sitting Norwegian prime minister to visit the college in 15 years. The college was founded by Norwegian immigrants in the 1800's. Roughly a hundred students attended Gahr Støre's lecture and Q & A. Before he went to Northfield, he visited Camp Ripley.
Gahr Støre will be at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday.
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