The minister of international development and human rights has taken some positive initiatives when it comes to development cooperation and industry, but apart from Burma, the human rights perspective has been absent. So far the only thing that has been achieved is the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Libya; the consul is a Saga employee.
In opposition, Bondevik promised that he would raise the issue of guarantees from the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credit (GIEK) for Kværner supplies to Three Gorges in China in the Norwegian Parliament. As prime minister he says that a new government cannot change a previously made commitment. Such a change could also lead to large claims for compensation, he adds.
The minister of petroleum and energy has stated that any positive environmental initiatives by multinational companies elsewhere in the world will not give these companies preferential treatment on the Norwegian continental shelf; in other words, all companies, even the worst ones, are treated equally. But then again Arnstad constitutes the general meeting of an oil company that keeps getting involved in new dubious projects, Statoil.
We will not give up hope that the new government will live up to some of the signals sent out while in opposition; we're waiting.
Norwatch Newsletter 1/98