Jonas Gahr Støre is accused of having misled the Norwegian Parliament, initially denying he held unofficial talks with Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal in 2007, according to Aftenposten’s Wikileaks collection.
In an interview given to TV 2 the Hamas leader revealed direct telephone conversations with the Norwegian Foreign Minister even though Norway is supposed to have contact only at an official level.
FM Støre had at first denied this, but after seeing Mishaal’s statements told TV2, “Yes, it is correct to say I had a couple of phone conversations with [Mr Mishaal] in 2007 when the Palestinians were negotiating on a common basis of government between themselves.”
The U.S. criticised the Norwegian FM’s contact with the Hamas leader, according to the ‘Wikileaked’ document. The American diplomats suspect that the Norwegian Government secretly sympathizes with Hamas, a powerful terrorist organization in the Gaza strip suspected of sending suicide bombers against civilian targets in Israel.
“Although the GON would deny it, there are clear signs that contacts with Hamas go beyond a tactical desire for dialogue to a level of sympathy for Hamas positions. The FM once told DCM for example that one could not expect Hamas to recognize Israel without knowing which borders Israel will have. While the FM expresses some sympathy for the Hamas position only in unguarded moments, other prominent Norwegians go further,” former U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Benson K. Whitney, wrote in a memo from 2009.
Progress Party (FrP) leader Siv Jensen, accuses FM Støre of deliberately misleading Parliament.
“I think this is very disheartening to hear. The Foreign Minister likes to be seen as being a trustworthy man. It is very serious if this proves to be true. It means the government, with Jonas Gahr Støre at the helm, has misinformed Parliament,”she said.
Following FM Støre’s interview with TV2, the Norwegian Government explained Norway has never recognized Hamas and has not established political relations with it, releasing the following statement:
“The Foreign Minister's telephone contact with the Hamas leader in the spring of 2007 was related to efforts to form a coalition government, and took place in agreement with President Abbas. In keeping with Norwegian policy, it has been decided to maintain contact with the movement at official level as Norway considers it important to have dialogue with all parties [in the Middle East].”