On Tuesday 03.09.13, the minister of foreign affairs, Espen Barth Eide(Labour party), visited our school. Well over 200 students gathered in the gymnasium, where a stage was set. Eide then had a long presentation about Norway's foreign politics, and our role in the world's global issues, with focus on the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The Syrian civil war
Eide opened with informing that he had just arrived from a meeting with other northern foreign-ministers, explaining that they dictated a letter, as an appeal, to the UN security-council, demanding that the UN must deal with the fact that chemical weapons has been used in the conflict. He also stated that Norway has a responsibility to react to the use of chemical weapons He would however, not answer to what kind of reaction he had in mind when asked, other than mentioning different possibilities, such as sanctions or a military intervention. With Afghanistan still fresh in mind, Norwegians are sceptic to an intervention without UN-mandate, and Eide did express this in some way. He also stated that there has been to little focus on the foreign-politics in the election campaign, which unfortunately for Eide ended with conservative victory yesterday, 09.09.13.
Norway's role in the world
During his presentation, Barth Eide expresses his concerns with the possibilities(now reality) of a conservative victory. Not only because he would loose his job, but because Norway's role in the world would get significantly smaller. Norway has had an important role in the negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the conflict on Sri Lanka and the conflict with FARC in Colombia among others. With a new government, he said, we would probably be much more EU, and less UN oriented. This could mean the end of negotiations with both HAMAS and FARC, which are both considered terrorist organizations by the EU. The new conservative government has also promised to cut much of development aid, which he also expresses his concerns for. However, unlike Norway's diplomatic role, development aid has been discussed much in the media. Nevertheless it's a fact that with the new government soon in place, Norway's international role will change. If that's a good or a bad thing, you will have to decide on your own.