Stoltenberg and the Ministry of Defence disagreed whether Norway was in war in Libya

Norway is not in war in Libya for reasons of international law, Jens Stoltenberg said to the Storting in 2011. The Ministry of Defense was the opposite.

This is evidenced by the report from the committee that has examined Norwegian participation in the war. This is referred to from the statement by the then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (AP) and the subsequent debate in the Storting on 29 March 2011.

Norway is not in war in international law. Had we been there, Norwegian soldiers had been legitimate goals. They are not,” said Stoltenberg.

The committee points out that it says “in contrast” to a letter that the Ministry of Defense had sent to the Defense Staff five days earlier on the international law framework for Norwegian forces in Libya.

“There is no doubt that this post-war situation is defined as an international armed conflict where coalition forces participate on behalf of their states, which, after the war’s international law, are regarded as parties to the armed conflict in Libya, cites the report from the letter.”

The Ministry further states that Norwegian forces under international law are legitimate military goals.

“What Stoltenberg’s positive knowledge was, I would not wonder, but the information given to the Storting did not agree with the instructions given by the Ministry of Defense five days earlier,” said professor Christoffer Conrad Eriksen, who has been in the committee, to NTB after the report on Thursday.

Based on ministries

Stoltenberg, currently NATO’s Secretary-General, has sent NTB some short comments to the report by email. Here he writes:

– My statement to the Storting about the Libya operation was based on legal assessments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. In addition, I do not have the opportunity to go into the details of a report I have not read.

Do not want a debate

Ap-leader Jonas Gahr Støre was Foreign Minister when Norwegian fighter aircraft were sent to Libya. He says he must read the report’s reasoning before he would like anything if there was an opposition between Stoltenberg’s statement and the Ministry of Defense’s letter.

“I do not want to open that debate now. I do not remember that it was a prominent issue, he says to NTB.

“What it was all about was whether Norway should follow up the UN Security Council decision to use all available funds after a very clear UN mandate. Then there are various legal assessments in different legal environments about what it means about Norway’s relationship with that state. In this, I have to enter the grounds before I have any opinion about it,” says Støre.

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