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Archive for Norway

Newsline: Norwegian woke Russian diplomats in Oslo after 2 a.m. with air raid siren

A 73-year-old in Oslo gave Russian diplomats a rude awakening by blasting a siren outside their bedroom windows, according to a local report. On Friday night at around 2.30 a.m. local time, Kjetil Krane carried a loudspeaker out to an apartment block known to house workers at Oslo’s Russian embassy, Nettavisen reported. Standing in the freezing cold, Krane played the sound of a Japanese foghorn, which bears a striking resemblance to an air-raid siren, according to the outlet. (https://news.yahoo.com/norwegian-guy-woke-russian-diplomats-141510754.html) Krane told the outlet that he wanted the diplomats to wake up over the issue of the war, both literally and figuratively. In a poster he distributed around the neighborhood ahead of time, and pictured by Nettavisen, he gave advance warning and reassurance about his actions. Police were called out and patrolled the area, but only after Krane had left, according to Nettavisen.

Newsline: Several protesters tried to enter Iranian Embassy in Oslo

Several protesters attempted to enter the Iranian Embassy in Oslo, police said, with scuffles breaking out and rocks being thrown at officers. A crowd had gathered outside the diplomatic mission in Oslo to protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody in Iran after she was detained by Iran’s morality police. Several were shouting, others had Kurdish flags around their shoulders. Some called for freedom for Kurdistan, women’s freedom and shouted the name of Amini. Police in the Norwegian capital said “many people were behaving violently.” Authorities said 90 people had been detained.

Newsline: Norway to close embassies in Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Kosovo in 2023

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway says that it will make several changes to its missions abroad, and five overseas missions will be closed down, including the Embassy of Norway in Colombo. Accordingly, Embassies in Bratislava (Slovakia), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Pristina (Kosovo), the embassy office in Antananarivo (Madagascar) and the Consulate General in Houston (USA) will be closed down, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt stated. (https://www.newsfirst.lk/2022/09/09/norway-to-close-embassy-in-sri-lanka-in-2023/) Accordingly, Norway’s diplomatic relations with Kosovo, Madagascar, Slovakia and Sri Lanka will be dealt with through alternative arrangements, and responsibility for this will be given to a Norwegian embassy close by, or an ambassador based in Norway will be appointed for the country concerned.

Newsline: Moscow boots diplomat who was caught on video saying “I hate Russians”

Moscow said that a Norwegian consul can no longer stay in Russia after she was filmed declaring “I hate Russians” during an angry outburst at a hotel reception. “After what happened, Elisabeth Ellingsen’s presence in Russia is impossible,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kremlin-norwegian-diplomat-elisabeth-ellingsen-video-i-hate-russians/) Earlier, the foreign ministry summoned Norwegian Ambassador Rune Resaland and protested about Ellingsen’s “insulting Russophobic remarks”. The Norwegian diplomat was recorded insulting Russians at a hotel reception in the Arctic city of Murmansk. The video was posted over the weekend by the Mash Telegram channel, reputed to be close to Russia’s security services, and sparked an outcry in the country. “I hate Russians. … Just give me a room. … I’m used to clean rooms, I’m from Scandinavia,” Ellingsen was recorded as saying in English. The Norwegian foreign ministry said over the weekend it “deeply regretted” the incident. “The sentiments expressed do not reflect Norwegian policy or the Norwegian attitude towards Russia,” the foreign ministry said. On Thursday, Moscow said it had taken note of the Norwegian foreign ministry’s statement. A spokeswoman for the Norwegian foreign ministry, Guri Solberg, said on Thursday the country’s ambassador had been informed that Moscow had revoked Ellingsen’s visa.

Newsline: Norway expels Russian diplomat in spy case

Norway’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday expelled a Russian diplomat linked to the case of a man jailed on accusations of spying for Russia, officials said. “We have today informed the Russian ambassador that one of his employees is unwanted in Norway and has been asked to leave the country. This is because the person in question has performed actions that are not compatible with his role and status as a diplomat,” Siri R. Svendsen told The Associated Press. (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/suspected-norway-spy-work-defense-projects-72463642) It was unclear whether the expelled diplomat was the Russian intelligence officer that Norwegian authorities said was meeting with the suspected spy in an Oslo restaurant when he was arrested on Saturday. The accused man has not been officially identified beyond that he is a Norwegian national in his 50s who was born abroad. However, Norwegian broadcaster NRK identified him as Harsharn Singh Tathgar. The man’s employer said Tuesday that he was heading an industry project on 3D printing and had no security clearance and didn’t work on projects for the defense industry, the Norwegian Armed Forces or other governmental agencies. Norway-based DNV GL, a major global classification society for ships, said in a statement the man had not had any line management responsibilities for a number of years. The man was arrested Saturday in a pizza restaurant. On Monday, he was remanded in custody for four weeks. The man has admitted receiving money — a sum that the judge who remanded him in custody said was a “not insignificant amount.” If convicted, he faces a maximum prison term of 15 years. The last time NATO-member Norway declared a Russian diplomat “persona non grata” was in March 2018 when several countries expelled dozens of Russian diplomats after Moscow refused to explain how a Russian-made nerve agent was used on a former spy in Britain. Russia denied the accusations and responded with tit-for-tat expulsions.

Newsline: Trump to Nominate U.S. Ambassador to Norway to Replace Navy Secretary

President Trump announced in a tweet that he will nominate U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite to replace former Navy secretary Richard Spencer. Trump’s tweet came just hours after Spencer was fired by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said he “lost confidence” in Spencer after he said Spencer met with White House officials to quietly offer to let a Navy SEAL convicted of war crimes to retire at his current rank. “Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper,” Trump said in a tweet. (https://www.thedailybeast.com/kenneth-braithwaite-trump-to-nominate-us-ambassador-to-norway-to-replace-navy-secretary-richard-spencer) “I thank Richard for his service & commitment. Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin.” The Navy SEAL, Edward Gallagher, was found guilty of posing with a corpse in Iraq in 2017. Trump later restored his rank and has insisted in recent days that Gallagher will get to retire with his Trident pin, despite the White House notifying the Navy on Sunday morning that it would not intervene with the disciplinary action against Gallagher.

Newsline: Pakistan summons Norway’s ambassador over burning of Quran

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says it has summoned Norway’s ambassador to convey the deep concern of the government and Pakistani people over the recent burning of Islam’s holy book by a Norwegian man that was caught on video. In a statement, the ministry said: “Such actions hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world.” (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/pakistan-summons-norways-ambassador-burning-quran-67252473) The statement demanded action against the person in the city of Kristiansand who desecrated the Quran at an anti-Islam rally last week. Pakistan’s reaction comes after video surfaced on social media showing a non-Muslim man burning the book. In the video, a Muslim youth is seen jumping over a fence and kicking the person burning the Quran. The incident drew nationwide condemnation, with many Pakistanis praising the youth as a hero for defending the Quran.

Newsline: South Sudan backtracks on embassy shutdowns, set to reopen 4

South Sudan has reversed a decision to close down some of its embassies across the world as the country’s president Salva Kiir on Friday ordered the reopening of four diplomatic missions that were closed some months ago. Kiir quashed a previous directive for the closure of some diplomatic missions and ordered the reopening of three embassies in Europe and one in Asia, information minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting. “The president informed the cabinet that he has set aside the order that was made for the closure of some embassies,” Makuie said. (http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-08/17/c_138314799.htm) “Those embassies which were closed… another order has been issued reinstating them. These embassies are of Norway, France, Italy and Kuwait… now these embassies will continue to operate,” he added. South Sudan’s foreign ministry announced in May that it was reviewing the status of its 39 embassies and consulates across the world and close some in a bid to reduce operational costs.

Newsline: Norway and Poland to expel diplomats in tit-for-tat exchange

Norway will expel a Polish diplomat who had clashed with local officials after Warsaw declined to recall him, the Norwegian foreign ministry said. Poland said it would expel a Norwegian diplomat in exchange, in a rare spat between the two countries which have strong economic links. Norway had decided to expel Polish consul Slawomir Kowalski because his behavior was not compatible with his diplomatic status, the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman said. She said the ministry had received numerous complaints from officials that the consul has obstructed their work. Norwegian media said Kowalski had been involved in several cases where Polish citizens were disputing decisions by Norwegian child protection services. “This is an extremely unjustified decision,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said on Twitter. “The only possible decision in this situation is mutual action, which will be carried out immediately,” he added. Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement that a Norwegian diplomat had been declared “persona non grata” in Poland, following Norway’s decision. Norway’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-poland/norway-and-poland-to-expel-diplomats-in-tit-for-tat-exchange-idUSKCN1Q020B). Poles account for the largest immigrant group in the Nordic country of 5.3 million people, estimated at around 98,000 in 2018, according to Statistics Norway.

Newsline: Norway to close embassy in Azerbaijan, open in Georgia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide said Oslo plans to open its Embassy in Tbilisi in the course of 2019, Civil.ge reports. Simultaneously, the Norwegian Embassy in Baku will be closed, with Azerbaijan being covered from Norway’s representation in Ankara, Turkey. The Royal Norwegian Embassy has been operating in Baku since 1998, and was also accredited to Georgia. Announcing the move, the Norwegian Foreign Minister said the decision was taken “on the basis of an overall assessment of Norwegian interests and our ties with the countries in the Southern Caucasus.” “Georgia is one of our priority partner countries in the Eurasia region. For many years, it has been following a course of reform, which has brought it closer to European and Euro-Atlantic cooperation structures,” Ine Eriksen Søreide stated.