BAKU: Norway PM meeting with Armenian leader not anti-Azeri – Envoy

Norwegian premier’s meeting with Armenian leader not “anti-Azeri” – envoy

ANS TV, Baku
25 Jun 04

[Presenter] Norwegian ambassador Steinar Gil does not regard the
Strasbourg meeting between [Armenian President] Robert Kocharyan and
his country’s prime minister as surprising. The ambassador explained
this by Norway’s chairmanship in the Council of Europe.

[Correspondent over video of the Council of Europe building] We
reported in yesterday’s edition of the “Xabarci” news programme that
Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik attended the opening of
an exhibition called “Fridtjof Nansen and Armenia” at the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE] in Strasbourg
on 24 June. We managed to clarify the position of the Norwegian
ambassador to Azerbaijan, Steinar Gil, on Norway’s attention to
Armenians. Mr Gil said there was nothing surprising in the prime
minister’s visit to the event and his meeting with Kocharyan. He added
that PACE Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer had also joined the

[Gil on the phone in Russian with Azeri voice-over] Many people meet
Kocharyan. Why are you paying so much attention to this issue?
Naturally, our prime minister meets numerous leaders, particularly at
the current stage when Norway is the chairman of the Council of

[Correspondent] Ambassador Gil also attempted to defend Fridtjof
Nansen, a Norwegian Nobel prize winner, who is known for his active
assistance to Armenians and for promoting the so-called genocide. The
ambassador said that he is helping not only the Armenians, but also
the Turks, Greeks, Russians and Ukrainians who had suffered from World
War I. The interesting point is that Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell
Magne Bondevik was specially invited to the Nansen event. In view of
the fact that Norway has not recognized the Armenian genocide, the
premier’s visit gave the Armenians a great opportunity in this regard.
Ambassador Gil ruled out that issues damaging to Azerbaijan were
discussed at the meeting between Kocharyan and the prime minister.

[Gil] This was a normal meeting. How did you know that it was

[Correspondent] This is the position of the Norwegian ambassador to
Azerbaijan. The Armenian media writes that representatives of the
Scandinavian country were greatly affected by the exhibition dedicated
to Armenian refugees.

Zaur Hasanov, ANS.