Dronning Sonja skal åpne den norske forskningsstasjonen Troll i Antarktis i februar.
Stasjonen skal drives av Norsk Polarinstitutt på helårsbasis.
- En helårlig forskningsstasjon i Antarktis vil styrke Norges rolle som polarnasjon og åpne nye muligheter for klimaforskning. Stasjonen gjør Norge i stand til å bli en mer aktiv deltaker i det internasjonale arbeidet for å bevare Antarktis som det reneste og minst påvirkede villmarksområdet i verden, sier miljøvernminister Knut Arild Hareide, som er svært glad for at dronningen har sagt ja til å forestå åpningen.
Dronningen er den første representanten for kongefamilien som besøker det norske kravområdet Dronning Mauds land i Antarktis.
Sonja will be visiting Queen Maud's Land in Antarctica in February. She has agreed to open a new Norwegian research station there. She will be the first Norwegian Royal to visit Antarctica.
Queen Sonja is waiting for better weather in Cape Town, while parts of her entourage is stuck waiting for better weather in Frankfurt. They're all going to the new research station in Antarctica - which is to be opened by the Queen on Saturday.
Queen Sonja came in time to Cape Town on Thursday, but because of bad weather at the new Troll airport, the Hercules plane that is going to bring the queen and her entourage to Antartica depart from South-Africa as planned, on Thursday. The departure has been postponed for 12 hours.
It suits the host for the festivites on Troll, director Olav Orheim at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, well. Because he is stuck in Frankfurt, and will be late to Cape Town.
Nine people who're supposed to participate in the opening of the research station Troll am stuck in Frankfurt Wednesday. Because of the fog in Frankfurt the plane from Oslo had to have a temporary landing in Cologne and was therefore late to the connection to Cape Town. They will be about a day late, says Scanpix photographer Cornelius Poppe to NTB. He is among those who're supposed to cover the Queen's visit.
Party without a host?
If the weather on the South Pole doesn't change before the entourage left in Frankfurt have arrived in Cape Town, the plane will wait. But if the weather changes before that, and the Hercules plane can land safely on the new air-strip, it will depart with Queen Sonja, the Norwegian Environment Minister, among other people, but without the rest of the entourage. And then it will be a party on the newly opened research station, without the host.
Because of the delays the programme was pushed back a bit, but Thursday afternoon it is still unclear when the Hercules plane can depart from Cape Town.
According to schedule Queen Sonja and the others should stay in Antarctica from Friday morning to 23.00 Norwegian time, Saturday night. The opening of the research station will happen 19.00 Norwegian time, Saturday afternoon.
February 10, 2005, Cape Town - Norwegian Queen Sonja launched the South African leg of the Norwegian centennial anniversary here today.
The Norwegian centennial anniversary is a yearlong programme of cultural and sporting events to commemorate peaceful dissolution of Norway's union with Sweden in 1905.
South Africa is one of the countries chosen to partake in the Norway's 100th anniversary programme. Others are Sweden, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and USA.
Arts and Culture deputy minister Mantombazana Botha, Norwegian ambassador to South Africa Ove Thorsheim were among dignitaries who attended the launch today.
"The strong ties between Norway and South Africa actually date back long before 1905. But most importantly in modern times it was the struggle against apartheid that united the peoples of South Africa and Norway," the queen said.
The Centennial programme will focus on Norway as a partner in peace and development, a nation rich in resources, modern, culturally diversified and knowledge-based.
Her Majesty said South Africans had set an example to the rest of the world in their remarkable transition to a vibrant democracy.
"There is one important similarity between the events in Norway in 1905 and in South Africa in 1994, both conflicts were resolved peacefully," she said.
The queen arrived in the city yesterday and this is her second visit to the country.
She is scheduled to visit Cape Point this afternoon before jetting off to Antarctica tonight for the official opening of the Norway's first-year round research station at Troll.
Ms Botha said Norway helped SA to work through difficult negotiations to bring peaceful transition.
"SA was honoured to be chosen as one of the countries to host the Norwegian anniversary. We endorse this programme and we are fully prepared to work with you," she said.
Ambassodor Thorsheim said although Norway and South Africa were far apart geographically, they had much in common.
"South Africa is important to us and it is important to the world," he said, adding the country had exceeded expectations and made a lot of progress, yet a lot still remained to be done.
"Norway is willing to co-operate to combat social challenges such as poverty, peace, stability and economic development, "he said
Queen Sonja opened Norway's new permanent Antarctic research station Troll on Queen Maud's Land on Saturday.
- Impressive and beautiful was her first reaction.
- As the first queen to set foot on Queen Maud's Land, it is a special pleasure for me to be part of marking a new era in Norwegian Polar history, the queen said in her speech at the opening ceremony.
- The new station is a result of an impressive building project under demanding conditions. Several hundred tons of equipment have literally been freighted from the other side of the globe, with a tough last leg on sledges and snowmobiles from the edge of the polar ice and up to Troll, Queen Sonja said.
The new building of 300 square meters is isolated to withstand strong winds and temperatures down to minus 60 degrees Celcius.
It can accommodate 8-10 persons, and seven scientists will spend the first winter at Troll.
A new 3000 metre long air strip has been constructed on the ice, and Environmental Minister Knut Arild Hareide, who accompanied the queen on the trip, opened the runway upon arrival.
Queens Sonja is secheduled to return to Cape Town in South Africa late Sunday evening.