About the Author:Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.
On May 6, I led the first ever U.S.-Norway Global Issues Dialogue, which will strengthen cooperation on issues of interest to both our countries. Norway and the United States are bound by common values, rooted in the pursuit of democracy, human rights, and individual freedoms. I was proud to welcome the Norwegian delegation led by State Secretary Gry Larsen to discuss these key issues.
Over the course of the day, we talked about ways in which the United States and Norway can collaborate on climate change initiatives, partner in multilateral engagement, and carry out joint research on pressing issues, such as global health and regional and global water challenges.
We held a broad exchange on human rights issues, including strengthening the U.N. Human Rights Council, protecting human rights defenders, empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations, combating trafficking in persons, upholding the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and promoting the decent work agenda.
Finally, we also discussed Arctic issues, including polar research, search and rescue, and other items on the Arctic Council agenda. Next month, I will travel to Oslo and the Arctic for the Ny-Alesund Symposium to further engage on these important issues.
I am pleased that other members of Secretary Clinton's leadership team held additional discussions with the Norwegian delegation. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Philip Gordon led discussions on European security, including developments in NATO and the OSCE as well as the High North and non-proliferation. Acting Assistant Secretary Van Diepen discussed disarmament issues and Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller discussed the new START treaty. Additionally, Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, and Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, led discussions on women's rights. These efforts contribute enormously to a strong, well-rounded partnership that moves our mutual desire for increased cooperation from words to action.