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PACE President: 'Norway is a strong and solid partner'

At the end of a three-day official visit, the PACE President has welcomed Norway's permanent support to the work of the Assembly and the Council of Europe. "We have in your country a strong and solid partner," Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

"Our Assembly values very much Oslo's support for activities in the field of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue," Mr Cavusoglu added, welcoming Norway's substantial contribution to the Organisation's co-operation programmes, both in terms of financial resources and expertise.

The PACE President underlined that the Norwegian parliament could use PACE's reports and resolutions during the consultation on the government's white paper on South Eastern Europe. "Norway's support in the region is essential, especially in countries presenting difficult institutional and political situations," he said.

Mr Cavusoglu supported the idea of co-operation and joint programmes in neighbouring countries, in order to offer them the necessary expertise for strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law and human rights.

Referring to the current negotiations with the European Union on the EU's accession to the European Court of Human Rights, Mr Cavusoglu described Norway's support as "essential".

During his visit, Mr Cavusoglu had an audience with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon, and met with the President of the Storting, representatives of political groups as well as the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He held an exchange of views with the members of the Storting Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence and with the Norwegian delegation to PACE.

The PACE President, who also met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and with the Director of the Nobel Institute, delivered a speech at the Institute for Human Rights.

At the end of his visit, Mr Çavusoglu laid flowers at the Oslo Cathedral, in memory of the victims of July's attacks in Oslo and on Utøya island.