The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 7th October 2015 that it will close down four of its embassies during 2016, and that the embassy in Harare is one of the embassies affected. The other three are in Zambia (Lusaka), Kazakhstan (Astana) and Bulgaria (Sofia).
Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Børge Brende, explains that the foreign service is under continuous adjustments and restructuring in light of budgetary constraints and new priorities. “We have to adjust to a changing world and the resources available”, he says.
The Ambassador of Norway to Zimbabwe, Mr Bård Hopland, adds that this is not a reflection of any problems in the good diplomatic cooperation between Norway and Zimbabwe. We shall just have to find new mechanisms for maintaining this long-term relationship, he says.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed about the decision.
Norway has been present in Zimbabwe with an Embassy since 1981. Zimbabwe was for many years one of the main recipients of Norwegian development aid. In the past years the main focus areas have been support to election process and democratisation, human rights and culture.
Even without an embassy, many ties between Norway and Zimbabwe will continue. Norway remains a strong contributor to multilateral organisations and international programmes, including the UN, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, as well as global health funds.