African Press International (API)

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Disappointed veteran politician drops efforts for a military pact

Posted by African Press International on September 5, 2007

A veteran politician’s efforts to usher in a military cooperation between Sweden and Norway crash-landed this week after a dinner he had with Swedish lobbyists.

Stein rnhi was upset that his efforts to form a military pact with Sweden were, in his opinion, incorrectly portrayed.

PHOTO: OLAV OLSEN

Newspaper Dagbladet reported the dinner on its front page, with a photo showing Stein rnhi of the Socialist Left (SV) party accepting an envelope from the lobbyist for the Swedish Wallenberg firm Investor AG. It’s the main investor in SAAB AB, which in turn produces the Gripen fighter jet that Swedish industrialists and military officials hope Norway will buy.

Dagbladet indicated the envelope contained “secret fighter jet information,” and that the dinner meeting at the post Statholdergaarden restaurant in Oslo also was secret.

In fact, the envelope contained information on Swedish-Norwegian cooperation on environmentally friendly energy issues, and rnhi wasn’t on official party business. But the damage was done, and he was criticized by both the president of Norway’s parliament, Thorbjrn Jagland of the Labour Party, and the head of the parliament’s defense committee, Jan Petersen of the Conservatives. They clearly believed rnhi’s dinner meeting was improper.

The head of SV who’s also currently Norway’s Finance Minister, Kristin Halvorsen, claimed the criticism against rnhi was blown way out of proportion “There wasn’t anything secret about that meeting,” she told news bureau NTB.

rnhi, though, feels compelled to drop his own efforts to bring about a military pact between Norway and Sweden. “Dagbladet made it look criminal,” he said. “That’s sad.”

By Thomas Spence and Nina Berglund

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.aftenposteneng

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