Norway’s Christian Democrats to decide government’s fate in terror row

Picture taken on March 15, 2018 shows Norwegian Minister of Justice and Public Security Sylvi Listhaug speaking to the media at the Norwegian Parliament in Oslo, Norway. (AFP/NTB Scanpix/Gorm Kallestad)
Updated 19 March 2018

Norway’s Christian Democrats to decide government’s fate in terror row

OSLO: Norway’s Christian Democrats, holding the balance of power in parliament, are expected to decide on Monday whether to back a no-confidence vote against Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug, a rarely used step that would probably bring down the government.
Listhaug recently rocked Norway’s traditionally consensual politics by accusing the opposition Labour Party — target of the country’s worst peacetime massacre — of putting terrorists’ rights before national security.
Five center-left parties last week said they would vote on Tuesday to oust the minister, leaving her fate in the hands of the small Christian Democratic Party, which has scheduled meetings on Monday to discuss its vote.
On Sunday, daily Verdens Gang and broadcasters NRK and TV2 quoted sources close to Prime Minister Erna Solberg saying her cabinet would stand by Listhaug and resign if the no-confidence vote succeeds.
Snap elections are not allowed, and Norway’s next general election is not due until 2021. This may allow Solberg to form a new government, but may also throw the job to Labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere if the Christian Democrats switch sides.
On July 22, 2011, far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people in downtown Oslo with a car bomb and then shot dead 69 people, many of them teenagers, at a Labour party camp on Utoeya Island.
On Facebook, Listhaug recently posted a photograph of masked people clad in military fatigues, black scarves and ammunition with the text: “Labour thinks terrorists’ rights are more important than the nation’s security. Like and Share.”
The comments unleashed a political storm, and Listhaug, a member of the right-wing Progress Party, apologized in parliament on March 13. Most opposition parties, however, said her gesture was not sincere enough.
But although many attempts have been made by parties in parliament to oust governments via no-confidence motions, the last vote to succeed in bringing down a cabinet was in 1963.
Daily Aftenposten on Monday said that Solberg and Christian Democrats leader Knut Arild Hareide had discussed the possibility of defusing the situation by having Listhaug apologize a second time.
The dispute erupted after Labour and the Christian Democrats helped defeat a bill allowing the state the right, without judicial review, to strip individuals of Norwegian citizenship if they are suspected of terrorism or joining foreign militant groups.
While Hareide’s party has backed Conservative leader Solberg for prime minister since 2013, it has declined invitations to join the cabinet, primarily due to its opposition to the Progress Party.


Morocco, Spain to hold talks about overlapping territorial waters

Updated 25 January 2020

Morocco, Spain to hold talks about overlapping territorial waters

  • The territorial waters Morocco has claimed include the coast off Western Sahar
  • The territory has been contested between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front since the Spanish colonial period ended in 1975

RABAT: The Moroccan and Spanish foreign ministers said on Friday their countries would hold talks about overlapping areas of ocean that they both claim rights to in the North Atlantic.
The territorial waters Morocco has claimed include the coast off Western Sahara, a territory that has been contested between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front since the Spanish colonial period ended in 1975.
Morocco’s parliament passed two bills this week to give domestic legal cover to a coastal area the North African country already controls, causing concern in Spain’s Canary Islands, where the government warned of overlaps with Spanish territorial waters.
Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita said that defining territorial waters was a “sovereign right” and that his country aimed to upgrade domestic law in compliance with the UN law of the sea convention.
“In case of overlaps, international law requires states to negotiate,” said Bourita following talks with his Spanish peer, Arancha Gonzalez Laya.
“Morocco rejects unilateral acts and fait accompli,” he said, adding that Spain was a “strategic partner” and Morocco’s largest trading partner.
Gonzalez Laya said Morocco’s willingness to negotiate “reassures the Canary Islands.”
“Morocco is a source of stability for Spain,” she said, citing “close cooperation” in the fight against jihadists and illegal migration.