Norway optimistic in establishing formal partnership with ASEAN
He said Norway had a very clear intention on enhancing collaboration with the regional grouping.
"I'm optimistic that we will find constructive ways in the coming months, at least with the support from Malaysia," he told Bernama after a bilateral meeting with Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman on the sidelines of the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting(AMM) here.
ASEAN, which is currently considering applications from Norway, Ecuador, North Korea and Mongolia to establish formal partnership with the bloc, had formalised partnership with several countries including Australia, China, Canada, European Union, New Zealand, South Korea and Pakistan.
Describing the bloc as one of the most important regional organisations in the world with huge economic opportunities, Brende said Norway had engaged in partnership with many ASEAN countries particularly in terms of development.
"With the growing economic opportunities in ASEAN, we believe we will see even more Norwegian companies in all kinds of sectors like oil and gas, fertiliser and the maritime sector," he said.
Currently there were about 250 Norwegian companies in the region with 50 investing in Kuala Lumpur, he said, adding that he was also positive that the number would grow considering the huge economic opportunities in the region. ■