Global Policy Forum

Norway Set to Reopen Embassy in Iraq

Associated Press
January 26, 2001

Norway is preparing to reopen its embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, 10 years after it was closed at the start of the Gulf War, the foreign ministry announced Friday.

Norway, a new member of the U.N. Security Council, was appointed this month to lead the world agency's sanctions committee on Iraq.

Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland said Oslo needs first hand information from Iraq. ''To be able to do the most independent evaluation possible of the conditions in Iraq in connection with our work on the Security Council, we want to reopen a diplomatic representation in Baghdad,'' he said in a printed statement.

Even though Norway, a member of the NATO alliance, was part of the Desert Storm alliance during the 1991 Gulf War with Iraq, Oslo and Baghdad never formally broke diplomatic ties. However, Norway closed its embassy in January 1991, as the Gulf War loomed.

The Scandinavian nations does not immediately plan to appoint a full ambassador to Baghdad but will be represented by a charge's d'affaires a lower echelon diplomat and two other diplomats. The government on Friday requested funding from parliament to cover the cost of the embassy.

''We want it to be open as soon as possible,'' foreign ministry spokesman Karsten Klepsvik said by telephone. ''We are not talking about months, but weeks.''

NATO-member Turkey named an ambassador to Baghdad last week, and the Gulf nations of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates _ all members of U.S.-led Desert Storm alliance have reopened embassies or have diplomats in Baghdad.

On Thursday evening, Jagland said he would like the see sanctions against Iraq ''targeted in a better way if that is possible. We have to also take into account the humanitarian situations in the country.''

Iraq claims that thousands of people a month die as a result of UN sanctions.

More Information on a Turning Point for Iraq
More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq


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