The President greets Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway

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WASHINGTON — The President welcomed Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg to the White House Wednesday afternoon.

Trump and Solberg faced questions from reporters — two from US press and two from Norwegian press.

During the joint news conference, Trump said economic ties between the United States and Norway are “robust and growing” and he pointed to their work in the NATO alliance to counter security threats.

Solberg highlighted the two nation’s deep roots and says she assured the president that Norway is an ally and a friend “that you can count on.”

Norway’s leader says her country is committed to the Paris climate agreement and sees tremendous economic opportunities in the green economy.

Trump announced last year his intention to pull the U.S. out of the climate pact.

 

Trump’s meeting with Solberg at the White House is the first foreign leader visit with the president in 2018.

“Norway is a great customer, and a great ally and a great friend,” Trump said.

Solberg says Norway is “really appreciative of the good work that we have together with the United States. You are our closest ally inside NATO.”

The press availability Wednesday also came amid reports that special counsel Robert Mueller is likely to seek an interview with Trump as part of his investigation into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election and questions of whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to slam the various investigations focused on the allegations of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.

“The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!”

The special counsel and congressional committees investigating the matter have yet to reach a conclusion about whether any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia took place.

Trump’s meetings Wednesday with Solberg are also likely to shine a spotlight on Trump’s calls for NATO members to increase their defense spending. Along with most of the alliance’s members, Norway has failed to spend 2% of its GDP on defense as outlined in the alliance’s guidelines.

Still, like other US allies who share a border with Russia, Norway has been a critical US partner in guarding against Russian aggression and relations between Norway and Russia have soured in recent years amid Russia’s increasingly aggressive posture. Norway also drew a rebuke from Russia last year after it welcomed several hundred Marines onto a base about 900 miles from the Russian border.