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Armitage admits rocky relations to Norway

VICTORIA TERRASSE (TV 2 Nettavisen): US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admits that the relations to Norway have become a little rocky due to the war in Iraq.

«We have some bumps in the relationship, but it will pass,» said Richard Armitage to TV 2 Nettavisen.

The American Deputy Secretary of State met with Foreign Minister Jan Petersen Monday morning, after a meeting with Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. The topics for the meetings were the conflicts in Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.

Praised Norway
During a press conference after the meeting with Petersen, Armitage praised Norway’s contribution in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and Norway’s contributions to peace processes around the world.

«Norway’s reputation as a peace builder provides a large influence when you say what you mean,» Armitage said.

When TV 2 Nettavisen asked him what he thought about the recent poll that indicated that 75 percent of Norwegians prefer Democrat John Kerry in stead of the President George Bush, Armitage said:

«That means people have opinions in Norway, but in the long run, the relations between Norway and the US is very good.»

Iraq is a war
Armitage stated that the conflict in Iraq has to be viewed as a war.

«Of course, it is a war,» Armitage declared. «When people fire at you, it’s a war. The war against terror will be won, but it will take a long time.»

Changes for Sudan
Armitage said the US is willing to somewhat change the text of the UN resolution in connection with the problem in Darfur, but he claimed that the government in Sudan has to face their responsibilities.

«This is not necessarily something that can be solved with by the military,» Armitage stated. «It is important that Sudan stops its support of the militia.»

Oslo was the first stop on Armitage’s European tour. After a meeting with Vidar Helgesen, parliamentary secretary, Armitage continues to Riga.

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