Stoltenberg and Obama put old rifts to bed

Jens Stoltenberg finally got to meet US President Barack Obama this week, putting an end to rumours that the Norwegian Prime Minister had been blacklisted by the White House.

Stoltenberg said the 45-miniute meeting last Thursday has helped confirmed the two nations as “close allies”.

After former US president George Bush claimed Stoltenberg had inaccurately relayed a telephone conversation between the two of them to the media, it was widely believed the subsequent absence of an invitation to Washington was due to the PM’s supposed ‘blacklisting’. It has also taken Obama three years to get round to the meeting, although this has been blamed by both parties on scheduling issues.

During the talks, President Obama thanked Norway for its role in operations in Libya, which led to the dramatic death of Col Gaddafi just a few hours before the meeting.

As well as the situation in South Sudan and the July dual terror attacks in Norway, Obama said they “discussed how we are going to move the transition forward so that Afghans can take full responsibility for their security by 2014, as we agreed to in Lisbon”. He added that the two shared “intentions to work closely with our European partners to stabilise the eurozone area”.

The pair also discussed the conflict in the Middle East, with the President claiming that they “want to work very closely with both the Israelis and the Palestinians to arrive at a negotiated settlement”.

After the meeting, Stoltenberg thanked Obama for his “kind words” about the Libya action. “As you mentioned, we have accomplished what we had as our aim for the military operations in Libya: We protected civilians, we were able to stop Gaddafi killing his own people. And I think it shows that we are able to implement decisions by the UN and NATO and that’s important in itself,” he said.

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