Norway involved in Libyan expulsion

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Norwegian diplomats were actively involved in successful efforts to expel Libya from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council on Tuesday because of Libya’s “gross and systematic human rights violations.”

The 192 countries making up the UN’s General Assembly voted to remove Libya from the list of 47 countries making up the Geneva-based council, to send a signal to Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi that his regime’s violence against its own people is unacceptable.

“This has more than symbolic meaning,” Norway’s ambassador to the UN, Morten Wetland, told newspaper Aftenposten. “This is something we’re doing for the Libyan people. The goal is to give them hope.”

Wetland also said the UN wanted to send a message to those still supporting Gadhafi, “that the world means this is an intolerable situation.”

As the violent unrest continued in Libya, and more regions fell to those trying to topple Gadhafi’s four decades of rule, Norwegian diplomats worked “quietly,” Wetland said, to help get the General Assembly to expel Libya.

“What’s important here, is that the initiative got such broad support,” Wetland told Aftenposten. “I think it’s worth mentioning that it got strong support from countries that until recently were Libya’s close allies.” That included Lebanon and other countries in North Africa, he said.

Wetland also noted that China, which often is skeptical towards getting involved in the internal affairs of other countries, also supported the initiative.

“This just shows that if  the situation is serious enough, the world’s countries get together,” Wetland said. “There’s widespread agreement that situations like that in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda don’t happen again.”

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