No NATO pullout after all

October 4th, 2005  

Topic: No NATO pullout after all

From - english version

The three Norwegian politicians trying to form a new government have backed down on the controversial issue of troops in Iraq. Now it seems that those directly assigned to NATO won't be pulled out after all.

Labour Party boss Jens Stoltenberg, whose party won the most votes in last month's national election, said both before and after the polls closed that Norwegian soldiers in Iraq would be brought home. Stoltenberg also said he told US President George W Bush that Norway would be bringing its troops home.

They clarified that Norway has three types of troops in Iraq: Officers taking part in an international force, officers taking part in NATO exercises and officers directly under NATO command. The latter category will stay put.


Outgoing Defense Minister Kristin Krohn Devold wrote in a letter to Aftenposten that it would be "unheard of" for Norway to prevent Norwegian soldiers under NATO command from doing their jobs.

Devold, from the Conservatives, said it also would be "unwise" for the new government to pull Norwegian instructors out of NATO training programs. "That would weaken Norway's position in NATO, and it wouldn't be understood by our allies or by Iraqi authorities," Devold wrote.
This is probably the best thing Devold have done as Defense Minister taking into consideration the major budget cuttings and red numbers she let happen - but never the less I am glad Norway will continue to take part in the construction of the new Iraq.