Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Norway

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.

https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/258287090/norway-to-close-embassy-in-azerbaijan-open-in-georgia

Newsline: Norway summoned Saudi ambassador over Khashoggi murder

Norway summoned the Saudi ambassador on Thursday over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Norwegian Foreign Minister said on Friday. “We have raised the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and presented our point of view to the Saudi ambassador several times after it was known,” Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement. “We underlined how seriously we take this issue again yesterday, when he was at the Foreign Ministry for a discussion.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-khashoggi-norway/norway-summoned-saudi-ambassador-over-khashoggi-murder-idUSKCN1N719O

Newsline: Norway summons Iranian ambassador over alleged assassination plot in Denmark

Norway summoned the Iranian ambassador on Thursday over a suspected assassination plot against an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark involving a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background. Denmark said on Tuesday it suspected the Iranian government intelligence service had tried to carry out an assassination on its soil. It is now calling for fresh European Union-wide sanctions against the Islamic Republic. A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden on Oct. 21 in connection with the plot and extradited to Denmark, Swedish security police have said. “During the meeting we underlined that the activity, that has come to light through the investigation in Denmark, is unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-denmark-security-iran-norway/norway-summons-iranian-ambassador-over-alleged-assassination-plot-in-denmark-idUSKCN1N65ID

Newsline: Norwegian Diplomat Tops U.N. Shortlist For Syria Envoy

Geir Pedersen, a veteran Norwegian diplomat who cut his diplomatic teeth 25 years ago as part of the team that secretly negotiated the Oslo Middle East peace accords, has emerged as the front-runner to serve as the next United Nations special envoy for Syria, according to three well-placed diplomatic sources. The revelation comes two days after Staffan de Mistura, an Italian-Swedish dual national and diplomatic troubleshooter, announced to the U.N. Security Council that he would step down at the end of November, opening a vacancy for one of diplomacy’s most thankless jobs. Though the U.N. sought to play a central role early on in resolving the Syrian civil war, in recent years the conflict has largely fallen under the sway of Russia and Iran, which are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military onslaught against the dwindling rebel campaign. Like the U.N., the United States and Europe have become increasingly marginalized diplomatic players and have been reluctant to commit funds for Syria’s reconstruction. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have opened their own diplomatic channel, negotiating a buffer zone last month in Idlib Province, one of the rebels’ last holdouts.

Norwegian Diplomat Tops U.N. Shortlist For Syria Envoy

Newsline: Russia summons Norway’s ambassador after spying arrest

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Norway’s ambassador to protest against the arrest of a Russian citizen at Oslo airport on suspicion of spying. “We demanded … the immediate lifting of the absurd charges, and his release,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry gave the name of the arrested man as M.A. Bochkaryov.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-russia-diplomacy/russia-summons-norways-ambassador-after-spying-arrest-idUSKCN1M420L

Newsline: Ghana to open an embassy in Norway

Ghana will soon open an embassy in Norway to boost bilateral relations between the two countries. This was revealed by Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, during an interview with Class 91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show host Moro Awudu in New York following a meeting between President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Norway Premier Erna Solberg – both co-Chairs of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Ms Botchway said Norway already has an embassy in Ghana and noted that the West African country will also put up one in Oslo, the Norwegian capital.

https://www.businessghana.com/site/news/general/173020/Ghana-to-open-an-embassy-in-Norway

Newsline: Russian Embassy in Norway Denies Training Neo-Nazi Groups

Russia’s Embassy in Oslo has denied allegations that it provided financial help for neo-Nazi groups in Norway to receive training. A Norwegian television program claimed that members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (DNM) had received military training in Russia. Early last year, the DNM was linked to a series of bomb attacks outside asylum reception centers across Norway. Russia’s Embassy called the allegations “not just stupid, but blasphemous” in a statement published on its Facebook page. “It is not our country’s fault that the ultra-radical movement in Europe strengthens while traditional parties lose their influence,” it said.

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russian-embassy-in-norway-denies-training-neo-nazi-groups-60430

Newsline: Pakistan Embassy in Norway left behind thousands of passports

After years of reported quarrels with its landlord, the Embassy of Pakistan in Norway has moved out of the stately old home it leased in Oslo’s fashionable Frogner district for the past 25 years. The embassy reportedly left behind thousands of passports, visa applications and other documents along with trash and alleged damage to the house, and is now accused of misusing its diplomatic immunity. Pakistan’s ambassador flatly denies the claims. Years of quarreling over rental rates and maintenance, however, ultimately landed in court, where the embassy was ordered to pay nearly NOK 300,000 in unpaid rental charges. Caught in the middle is Norway’s foreign ministry, which doesn’t want to get involved in the dispute between landlord and tenant. Ministry spokesperson Guri Solberg told Aftenposten that state- and diplomatic immunity “limits Norwegian authorities’ ability to enforce demands made of foreign diplomatic representation in Norway.” She said the ministry can only “have meetings with embassies and remind them of their duty to follow their own diplomatic obligations,” including Article 41 of the Vienna Convention that foreign embassies and diplomatics are obligated to follow local laws (including court verdicts) even though they enjoy immunity.

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2017/11/27/embassy-awash-in-diplomatic-debris/