Norway Rightists and Leftists lock horns on Algeria / News / The Foreigner

Norway Rightists and Leftists lock horns on Algeria. Norway has suffered two major terrorist attacks in the last 18 months. On 22nd July 2011, Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people in the course of a few hours. Islamist militants captured the Norwegian/British gas plant at In Aménas in the Algerian desert last week, resulting in considerable loss of life amongst the workers and contractors held there. Labour (Ap) Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has been heavily criticised for Norway’s lack of preparedness, both domestically and abroad. Both the attacks happened during his premiership. 

statoilalgeria, inamenasgasplant



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Norway Rightists and Leftists lock horns on Algeria

Published on Friday, 25th January, 2013 at 13:43 under the news category, by Ben McPherson.
Last Updated on 25th January 2013 at 18:14.

Norway has suffered two major terrorist attacks in the last 18 months. On 22nd July 2011, Rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 people in the course of a few hours.

Jens Stoltenberg
The Norwegian Prime Minister giving his account on Algeria in ParliamentJens Stoltenberg
Photo: ©2013 Ben McPherson/The Foreigner


Islamist militants captured the Norwegian/British gas plant at In Aménas in the Algerian desert last week, resulting in considerable loss of life amongst the workers and contractors held there.

Labour (Ap) Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has been heavily criticised for Norway’s lack of preparedness, both domestically and abroad. Both the attacks happened during his premiership. 

Seven years after a report recommended that the Government close Grubbegata Street in the Government District of Oslo, work had only just begun; this left Breivik free to plant a bomb that killed eight people. The Statoil/BP gas plant in In Aménas was only lightly guarded when it was overrun by hostage-takers.

BP, Statoil, and Algerian state-run energy company Sonatrach reportedly chose not to use the allowed option of deploying private armed guards.

At a press conference on Wednesday, The Foreigner asked Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg whether Norway was a less safe country than it was two years ago.

“Norway is still a safe country,” he replied, “but Norway has been a country where we have been prepared for attacks. We have never believed that we have been in any way guaranteed immunity from terrorism, both in Norway and outside Norway. And that’s what we’ve seen both on the 22nd of July and in connection with what happened in Algeria last week.”

“There is no escape from the world,” added Labour’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. “We are in it, and we have to take part in it. And we have to... as a small but highly globalised country. We will be active in all corners of the world and that is something that we have to continue to do.”

Siv Jensen, leader of Rightist Progress Party (Frp), had earlier been highly critical of Norwegian foreign policy. Speaking in response to a statement the Prime Minister gave in Parliament, she demanded that Norway take military action in Mali to combat terrorism.

“We have to realise that terrorism is a global threat,” she told The Foreigner. “It can affect any country, any nation, any people - also Norwegians - and as an important energy nation we have, I think, an extra responsibility in fighting these radical forces. Because they try to attack vulnerable installations in any way, and with any means. But it will always affect ordinary people. And I think that any democracy and any rich country has a responsibility in participating in this.”

Earlier, Espen Barth Eide had been critical of Ms Jensen, accusing her of “beating down an open door.”

“I think I should point out that we’ve had a long engagement with the security situation in Africa,” he told journalists, “especially North and West Africa, not a place Siv Jensen’s Party has shown much interest before.”

“From that point of view, I’m delighted that they are now taking an interest in a very large and complex series of interconnected problems in that part of the world. I mean it really as a form of recognition,” he added.

When the Foreigner asked Siv Jensen what Norway could do to protect it’s citizens, she said that, “We are in the middle of a huge debate here on how we can fight against and prevent terrorism - better - how we can fight crime - better.”

“But we also have a responsibility internationally in participating both economically and militarily if necessary.”

Minister Barth Eide was sceptical about Jensen’s call for military intervention: “What I think everyone else is talking about is possible involvement in the EU training mission, to build capacity for Malian security forces.” 

The Foreigner asked him whether Norway is increasingly seen as a target by terrorists. His reply was very short.

“We have no particular information suggesting that we are either more or less a target than we were two years ago,” he declared.




Published on Friday, 25th January, 2013 at 13:43 under the news category, by Ben McPherson.
Last updated on 25th January 2013 at 18:14.

This post has the following tags: statoilalgeria, inamenasgasplant.





  
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