“”It is deeply regrettable that some members of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee were not given the opportunity to visit Russia， despite an invitation from the head of the (Russian) Council of the Federation committee on foreign affairs，”” Norway’s foreign minister Borge Brende said in a statement.
Norway’s Storting (Parliament) said earlier that a parliamentary delegation had postponed its upcoming visit to Russia owing to the fact that two of the members of the delegation — Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande and Socialist Left Party member Bard Vegar Solhjell — have had their visa applications declined.
The delegation from the Storting’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense was due to visit Moscow on Thursday and Friday for political talks.
The Norwegian foreign ministry protested to Russia through diplomatic channels immediately after the information about the visa rejections was received， according to its statement.
“”The ministry of foreign affairs called in the Russian ambassador today to reiterate our protest，”” Brende said.
Brende said meetings of parliamentarians between the two countries formed an important part of political dialogues and the planned visit “”would have brought this dialogue further””.
According to the statement， the reason given by the Russian authorities was that Norway had implemented the EU’s restrictive measures against Russia. The restrictive measures were justified by the Norwegian side as a consequence of Russian actions in Ukraine.
The Russian Embassy in Norway confirmed on Wednesday the denial of entry visas to the two Norwegian lawmakers.
The Embassy described the move as a “”mirror response”” to similar restrictions imposed on Russian lawmakers by the Norwegian authorities， according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency.
These parliamentarians have been included in a list of persons whose entry to Russia is restricted as part of a “”mirror response”” to Norway joining EU sanctions against Russian nationals， as well as to Norway’s “”discriminatory policies regarding the entry of Russian nationals to the Spitsbergen island””， the Embassy said in a statement.
According to the Norwegian Storting， Konstantin Kosachev， chairperson of the Russian Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs， visited Norway in June 2016 for a meeting with the Norwegian parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.
As a follow-up to this visit， a delegation to be headed by Anniken Huitfeldt， chairperson of the Norwegian committee， was invited to pay a return visit to Moscow on Feb. 2 and 3 this year to continue the dialogue.
“”We regret to have to announce the postponement of this visit，”” Huitfeldt said.
“”It is especially unfortunate given the positive dialogue that was entered into between the two committees during Kosachev’s visit to Oslo last year，”” Huitfeldt said.
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Winds had peaked at about 80 km an hour, with gusts of up to almost 110 km per hour early Tuesday.
Chatham Islands Mayor Alfred Preece said in the report that power was out to some households and some houses had suffered minor damage.
Civil Defense Minister Nikki Kaye told Radio New Zealand that the New Zealand Defense Force would be available to help out in the Chatham Islands if needed.
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Kaho Nakayama (C) of Japan shoots during a match between China and Japan at the Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship in south China’s Hong Kong, July 19, 2017. (XinhuaWang Xi)
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