FRP and Conservatives are on a collision course about the Taliban’s visit to Norway. And while the Conservatives criticize the government for not informing the Storting, FRP criticizes Ine Eriksen Søreide
Not everyone likes that Norway has invited representatives of the Taliban to Norway. Some respond that Norway has paid for the plane that transports them here. Others respond that they are invited at all.
The case has caused the former government partners Frp and Høyre to quarrel with each other.
Former Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) supports the dialogue with the Taliban. But she is critical of the fact that the Storting was not told about what was going to happen.
– Considering the structure of the meetings, it would be wise for the Minister of Foreign Affairs to provide the Storting with information in advance of the meetings and the assessments on which the government’s decision is based, she says.
Søreide now heads the Storting’s foreign affairs committee and is the Conservative Party’s foreign policy spokesperson. She informs Aftenposten that she, as chair of the committee, received a short notice that the meetings were to be held.
– But no information was given about delegation or other arrangements, she says.
She emphasizes that it is the government that is responsible for providing information to the Storting’s bodies, and therefore believes it would be wise to inform the committee.
Fear of new refugee crisis. That is why Norway is talking to the Taliban.
The Extended Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (DUUFK) consists of the ordinary members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the President of the Storting and all the parliamentary leaders in the Storting. The committee discusses important issues concerning foreign policy, security policy and, among other things, terrorist preparedness. The government always informs this committee before important decisions are made. The proceedings in the committee are secret, unless otherwise decided.
FRP criticizes Søreide
The FRP’s foreign policy spokesperson, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, is also critical of the fact that the committee was not informed prior to the visit.
– That is why we have the committee, he says.
But Frp also directs its shot at Søreide.
FRP leader Sylvi Listhaug writes in an e-mail that she thinks it is “hollow” that Søreide criticizes the government for not informing the expanded Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee “all the time she herself has had the opportunity to convene the committee.”
She points out that the Storting’s rules of procedure give Søreide as such an opportunity.
– It is startling that she failed to do so based on what she now says. The criticism of the government looks like a diversionary maneuver, since the Conservatives seem to fully support the Labor and Social Democrat governments in their decision to invite the Taliban to Norway, she says.
– That the Conservatives do not oppose the government’s assessments is sensational and sad and can only mean that they in practice agree with the government’s naive attitude in this matter, she points out. Listhaug believes the visit means that internationally wanted terrorists receive amnesty on Norwegian soil.
Søreide believes the talks are necessary
With the exception of the FRP, there is a broad political majority in the Storting that supports the talks.
Søreide believes it is absolutely necessary for the international community to have talks with the Taliban. In a press release, she refers to the growing famine in Afghanistan, where around more than half of the population is in urgent need of emergency aid.
– It is the Taliban that controls which organizations are allowed to come in with help to the civilian population, where they are allowed to operate and under what conditions, she points out.
– Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for the international community to have talks with the Taliban, she writes.
– The Conservatives perceive that it is the USA and the EU that are at the forefront of the talks that are now taking place in Norway, and that the purpose is to put pressure on the Taliban, make demands and make them responsible, including related to human rights and girls’ schooling, she writes.
The Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party support the talks: it is wise to talk to them
The Liberal Party’s parliamentary leader, Guri Melby, makes the following statement about the talks:
– There are probably more than me who feel disgusted that representatives of a regime that has hurt so much, can come to Norway. Still, I think it’s wise for us to talk to them. The situation in Afghanistan is desperate, and everything we can do to ensure the population more access to emergency aid is good, she writes in an SMS.
SV also supports the talks.
– We have meant that for a long time. Norway has spent a lot of money on war in Afghanistan. Now is the time to invest in dialogue, says SV’s foreign policy spokeswoman, Ingrid Fiskaa.
– Dialogue is not the same as recognition, but we can not stop talking to regimes we do not like, she writes in an SMS.
However, she believes it is crucial that not least women are allowed to speak in these conversations.
Rødt’s leader Bjørnar Moxnes has stated that the government should also use the opportunity to ensure that more people can travel from Afghanistan to Norway. He then refers to everything from Afghans who have worked for the Norwegian defense, to women’s advocates and other activists who have worked for democracy.
The FRP believes it is a recognition of the Taliban
FRP believes the symbolism of the talks is destructive.
– It is a recognition of the Taliban. Everyone will understand it as a recognition of the Taliban, except Anniken Huitfeldt, says Tybring-Gjedde to Aftenposten.
He believes Norway has largely failed in all peace talks we have participated in. And he believes the Taliban knew what they were doing when they “humiliated Norway and NATO” threw out “weapons, money and civilization.” Therefore, he believes it is the Taliban’s own responsibility to take care of their own.
The FRP was in government when in 2015 there were secret talks between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan government on Norwegian soil.
– It happened under completely different conditions. Then there was a civilized government in Afghanistan, he says. The FRP politician believes that the meetings then can therefore not be compared with what is happening now.