Peace maker government falls

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 March 2000, 00:40 GMT]
Norway's ruling coalition government led by Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik resigned Thursday night after the opposition voted in favour of building a new gas power plant. A spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Minister told TamilNet, that Norway's peace initiative in Sri Lanka will be followed up by the new government.

"It is taken for granted that the new government will continue the peace initiative taken by the Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek and his Deputy Wegger Strommen", Mr.Ingvard Havnen, foreign ministry spokesman said.

"However, it is early to speculate" Havnen added.

Knut Vollebaek, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway addresses the 845th plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament at Geneva,Switzerland on Thursday, March 9, 2000.Photo:AP
Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek who is directly involved in recent deliberations between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE may resign from politics said sources. Mr.Vollebaek is a career diplomat with wider experience and skills. He was the Norwegian ambassador to France before he became foreign minister in 1997. Vollebaek has also served with the Norwegian diplomatic mission in New Delhi earlier.

Political sources speculate former prime minister in the Labour led Government, Mr.Thorbjorn Jaggeland is expected to hold the position of new Foreign Minister.

Norway's ruling coalition government called for a vote of confidence over its opposition to building gas power plants.

Bondevik was standing firm on principle, and said his government could not go along with the majority of Parliament, who wanted to build the gas power plants with existing technology. Bondevik's government wanted to wait until new technology would allow construction of more environmentally friendly gas plants.

Jens Stoltenberg, head of the Labour Party, said a majority of the Parliament firmly believes that existing technology will not damage the environment.

Bondevik said Labour was using the gas power plant issue as a means to return to power through forming a new government.

Jen Stoltenberg, son of former foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg is expected to form the new government on Friday.


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