FM Støre is beyond belief – contrary to the many warnings issued by the USA before that ill-fated vote to grant Palestinians full membership in UNESCO, that by Law, USA would have to block funding to this body, as specified in Section 414 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, fiscal 1990 and 1991,
“No funds authorized to be appropriated by this act or any other act shall be available for theUnited Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” The 1994 law broadens the ban to include the U.N. recognizing “any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”
These provisions were adopted to prevent the Palestinians from breaking away from their obligations under the various peace efforts – in hindsight a very clever preventative measure.
And this is how our FM now defends his actions by going against advice not only from the US, but even from Minister Kristin Halvorsen, who could hardly be said to the sympathetic to Israel. It seems she was more in touch with reality than our FM. This reminds me of the leaved Wiki cables, where US embassy staff wrote about Støre: Although smart and dynamic, some people wonder if his arrogance might not work against him in negotiations:
Jonas Gahr Støre
SOCIALISTS BULLDOZED BY LABOR IN PALESTINE QUESTIONS
Dagen 2012 02 17 p 6
Tor Weibye, Not Online
Kristin Halvorsen issued a warning over Palestinian membership in the UNESCO. Never the less, just a few days later, the government voted for a membership.
At the UNESCO conference in Paris in October, the Minister of Knowledge, Kristin Halvorsen, said the membership question first had to be handled in New York “before referring to special committees and UN organs, we should find a solution beneficial to the Palestinians and the UN”. However, Norway voted contrary to Halvorsen’s recommendations.
“It is interesting to see Jonas Gahr Støre going one step further than the Socialist leader in promoting a pro-Pal issue. This tells me it is more important to Støre to issue a signal further disturbing the balance in the Norwegian relations to the parties in the Middle East conflict”, Hans Olav Syversen of the CPP tells Dagen.
He adds that this decision over membership has led to USA withdrawing budget support to the UNESCO, reducing budgets by 23 percent.
“The decision has broken the spine of UNESCO. It cannot implement planned programs. In reality, this organization is broken”, Syversen says.
“People who have been working for this organization for 10-12 years are suddenly on the streets, because UNESCO hasn’t got the funds to pay them. Nor is there funding left to protect cultural heritage in the Palestinian areas. Thereby, this decision has had the opposite effect of what was intended”, the leader of the CPP in the Storting adds.
Hans Olav Syversen raised this issue with the FM as the Storting debated the challenges Norway face in foreign policy. Syversen referred to Norway’s performance in the UNESCO affair; begging for answers over whether this is the preferred method to employ in other UN organs as membership issues are raised anew.
A rather forceful FM answered from the rostrum, with this: “It was Norway’s attitude the PA should have brought their resolution to the UN General Assembly, not the Security Council. It was also our advice they should prosecute this issue in New York, not the sub-organizations. This is what Minister Halvorsen stated on behalf of Norway, speaking in the UNESCO. As the Palestinians never the less went to the UNESCO, we would not deny them the right to do so. It is of value to note that a very large majority among UNESCO’s member countries voted in favor of this membership. This was the company Norway was in”.
USA to blame.
“As UNESCO now is in a dire state fiscally, I will never the less distance myself from them having broken their spine, being a destroyed organization. And by all means, do not blame the Palestinians. This was caused by US legislation to cut support to UNESCO as a result of a country being awarded membership by a majority of the members there”. “23 percent of the budget have been cut, and of course this is dramatic for an organization”, Støre says.