The Guardian September 12, 2001


Norway:
Australia's behaviour particularly immoral

Norway's Foreign Minister, Thorbjoern Jagland, is dissatisfied with the 
way Australian authorities handled the "Tampa" incident.

He acknowledges that there are no countermeasures one can use against 
countries that break the accepted rules. 

"We have nothing we can apply against a country that consistently refuses 
to abide by international rules and conventions", Jagland says.

"Norway's role in this is over. But the last word has not been said", the 
Foreign Minister says, referring to the appeal still pending before an 
Australian court.

Norway's appeal for the refugees to be landed at Christmas Island was not 
heard by Australia. But Jagland still thinks it was correct of Norway to 
stand by the principles of the case.

"We have now asked for a meeting of the International Maritime Organisation 
(IMO), not because we need new conventions, but because we must discuss how 
we shall abide by the ones we already have. All coastal states will be 
affected by this. I cannot remember a similar incident to this", Jagland 
said.

The Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Steinar Sjoelie, 
says Australia's behaviour has been particularly immoral, and that this has 
been noticed around the world.

He says that many nations around the world receive greater numbers of 
refugees than Australia and this is not a question of a nation being 
swamped. "This has provoked many and will remain with us for a long time", 
Sjoelie says.

* * *
The Norway Post (3/9/01)

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