Saturday, December 10, 2005

Norway Says No to a Free Cuba

Norway has a three-party coalition government, where the Labor Party is the leading force, but which also includes the Socialist Left Party and is backed by the Norwegian Socialist Trade Union (LO). The deputy leader of the Socialist Left Party recently announced that he wants to abolish private property. The leader of the Socialist Left Party, Kristin Halvorsen, is Norway's Minister of Finance. She started her election campaign in 2005 in the Pakistani countryside. Norway, which is a significant player in the global oil market, is actively involved in searching for oil in Iran. No boycott there:

Norway Says No to a Free Cuba

The Norwegian government of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, an extreme-left coalition of Stoltenberg’s Workers’ Party (Ap), the Socialist Left Party (SV) and the green Center Party (Sp), wants to ban Cuban democrats from attending Norway’s national holiday festivities. The SV is also calling for a boycot of Israel. On Monday Jonas Gahr Støre (Ap), the Norwegian Foreign Minister, announced that he is considering to no longer invite opponents of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to the Norwegian embassy’s party in Havana on May 17, Norway’s national holiday. Gahr Støre is doing this at the request of Gerd-Liv Valla, the chairperson of the Norwegian Socialist Trade Union (LO), who considers herself to be the godmother of Stoltenberg’s party. Valla, a former member of the far-left student organisation Kommunistisk Universitetslag, recently visited Cuba. She returned to Oslo with the message that it is more important for Norway to have good relations with Castro than with the Cuban democratic opposition. The Cuban regime refuses to attend events at embassies if representatives of the opposition are also present. Norway is not a member of the European Union, but the latter also believes that the pro-democracy activists in Cuba should stop “provoking” Castro by drawing attention to themselves and ask for freedom. Though the Workers’ Party has no qualms about bashing Cuban dissidents, the demand by prominent leaders of the SV, the second party in the Norwegian government, for a government boycot of Israel is not going down well with the Ap. During the election campaign last Summer the SV had promised its voters a pro-Castro and an anti-Israel policy. Last week, however, Prime Minister Stoltenberg said that the SV has a right to its own opinions, but made it quite clear that boycotting Israel is not the official policy of his government. SV leader Kristin Halvorsen, the Finance Minister, admitted that the coalition agreement does not mention a boycot of Israel.

Socialist Left politicians want boycott of Israel

The Socialist Left Party (SV) has already started to work on an action against Israel, in sympathy with the Palestinians, according to the public broadcaster. - The main focus of the campaign will be a general boycott of Israel. We will especially work for a consumer boycott of foodstuffs and cosmetics, but also for a boycott of the sale of arms. Both of which have been adopted by SV, says campaign leader Gjermund Skaar. SV leader Kristin Halvorsen says to Dagsavisen that a boycott of Israel is one of the themes which has not been given a final discussion by the Government. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, however, states that as long as it is understood that a boycott of arms sales to Israel is not the Government's policy, the prime minister will accept that SV expresses its own opinions. - An arms embargo against Israel is not the Government's policy. Boycott is not part of the Government's program declaration (the Soria Moria declaration), says Stoltenberg.


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