BAKU: Norwegian PM visits “anti-Turkish” exhibit at Armenia’s invite

Norwegian PM visits “anti-Turkish” exhibition at Armenia’s invitation – Azeri

ANS TV, Baku
24 Jun 04

An Azeri TV station has criticized the Norwegian prime minister and
foreign minister for accepting the Armenian president’s invitation to
an exhibition at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The exhibition,
entitled “Fridtjof Nansen and Armenia”, is dedicated to the work of
the Norwegian Nobel prize winner with Armenians in the early 20th
century. An Azeri delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe, Rafael Huseynov, told the TV station: “The books
being exhibited distort the truth and go against historical facts and
lack of bias.” The following is the text of the report by Azerbaijani
TV station ANS on 24 June:

[Presenter] We are going back to Strasbourg to speak about [Armenian
President] Robert Kocharyan’s visit. Proud of his role in the
occupation of Nagornyy Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan,
Robert Kocharyan met the Norwegian prime minister, the Norwegian prime
minister exactly.

[Correspondent over Kocharyan’s speech at the Council of Europe]
Armenian President Robert Kocharyan has met Norwegian Prime Minister
Kjell Magne Bondevik in Strasbourg. What is intriguing is that the
Norwegian prime minister came to Strasbourg at the invitation of
official Yerevan to attend the opening of an exhibition titled
“Fridtjof Nansen and Armenia” at the PACE [Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe] building.

Who is Fridtjof Nansen? A Nobel Prize winner and public figure from
Norway, who devoted part of his activities to propaganda on behalf of
Armenia and the Armenians. From the 1920s, he was a big partner and
supporter of the Armenians. He even toured the world alleging that
acts of genocide were carried out against the Armenians by the Turks
and raised funds for the Armenians.

Alleging that the Turks carried out genocide against the Armenians,
Nansen’s books extensively propagate hatred for Turks. There is also a
monument erected in Armenia in his memory. In Strasbourg, at the PACE
building, Nansen’s books in Armenian were shown at the “Fridtjof
Nansen and Armenia” exhibition. The Norwegian prime minister also
attended the exhibition together with Armenian President Robert
Kocharyan. And the Norwegian prime minister’s visit to Strasbourg
namely for the opening of this exhibition creates an impression that
the Norwegian prime minister is in solidarity with his country’s
friends of Armenia.

The exhibition was also attended by Jan Petersen, Norwegian foreign
minister and chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe. Speaking at the exhibition, the speakers once again claimed
that the Armenians had been subjected to genocide by the
Turks. According to Armenian channels, entering the headquarters of
the Council of Europe, Kocharyan had a 40-minute conversation with the
Norwegian prime minister before meeting the PACE leadership. In turn,
the spokesman of the Armenian president, Ashot Kocharyan, said that
Robert Kocharyan and Kjell Magne Bondevik had debated bilateral
relations, energy issues and the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. I want to
reiterate that Norway now holds the chairmanship of the Committee of
Ministers of the Council of Europe. It is also worth noting that
Norway attended this anti-Turkish exhibition at the highest level.

MP Rafael Huseynov, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation at the
Council of Europe, said that the issue would be on their agenda for
the next session, and it was important for Turkey to take the
necessary steps.

[Huseynov, voice] The books being exhibited distort the truth, go
against historical facts and lack of bias. For example, the Turks are
accused of barbarism, the Germans are accused of not stopping the
Turks and similar things. A discussion on Armenia will take place in
September. I hope that Robert Kocharyan’s thoughts, which run counter
to the principles of the European Council, and the biased opinions in
books by Nansen in the exhibition, which was also attended by the
prime minister, will be covered in our speeches. We shall also prepare
a document for the autumn session of PACE. I think that Turkey should
also work in this direction.

[Correspondent] Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, who will also
hold the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe for six months, called for activities to be stepped up for the
resolution of Nagornyy Karabakh. As for the possibility of an unbiased
attitude from Norway, this will become clear from the statements of
Oslo officials in a short while.

[Huseynov] Undoubtedly, the Norwegian foreign minister shares common
views with his prime minister on many aspects. However, as the foreign
minister of his country, his tenure in the post of chairman of the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is six months. This is
not a post with extraordinary powers to have serious impact on the
resolution of any problem. Certainly, there might be an impact, but
this is a post where Azerbaijan and other countries are
represented. But in any case, while analysing Petersen’s activities,
we should also bear in mind this prelude and be more attentive and

[Correspondent over Statoil’s Baku office] Let us recall that Norway’s
Statoil is one of the leading companies exploiting Azerbaijan’s oil
and gas projects. Norway now is investing in the Caspian littoral
states, rich in oil resources. For example, the Norwegian prime
minister was recently in Kazakhstan. Oslo always wants to play an
active role in oil and gas projects and expand cooperation with
Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, it seems a bit mysterious that the Norwegian
government should have resorted to such levers of pressure against
Turkey and Azerbaijan in alliance with Armenia.

We asked for comment on this subject, but were told that the Norwegian
ambassador in Azerbaijan would reply to these questions tomorrow.

Qanira Pasayeva for ANS.