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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Premier hopes for a stronger Norway

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday that he hopes last week’s attacks on the government and a Labour Party summer camp will make Norway stronger, and he thinks the response from Norwegians so far indicates it will.

Stoltenberg, meeting with reporters Wednesday afternoon, called the attacks by a fellow Norwegian an “attack on our fundamental values of freedom and democracy.” He said Norwegians have responded by showing sympathy for those hardest hit.

Violence, Stoltenberg stressed, can never be allowed and claimed, as he has before, that “we will meet the attacks with more democracy and openness.” The Norwegian people, he said, are not afraid of violence but choose to meet it with support for one another. “That’s the message,” he said.

He believes it is fully possible to have an open society without being naive, claiming that his government had been prepared for an attack even though it hadn’t experienced one like it before.

Stoltenberg took the opportunity to express thanks for the support that’s flowed into Norway from all corners of the world. On a personal note, he said that the hardest thing for him in the days since the attacks was to deal with his own grief over the tragedy while also offering Norwegians hope and the will to move on. He admitted he has cried during the past five days and that he has urged others to do so as well. “Because I think openness is the best medicine for many,” he said. Most people need a friend right now, he added, someone to talk with or hug or who can comfort them.

He avoided mentioning the name of the man now in custody after confessing to the attacks that have left 76 persons confirmed dead. He said he was focusing on the most important thing right now, to help those who have lost loved ones and who are injured.

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