Foreign Minister Børge Brende addressed the Norwegian Parliament on Wednesday with a promise to maintain the government’s criticism of US President Donald J Trump’s new ban on refugees and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries. He declined, however, to call in the man now in charge at the US Embassy in Oslo, to express a rebuke or official complaint.
The US no longer has an ambassador in Norway that Brende could call in, like he did in another dispute this week with the Russian government. The former US ambassador in Norway, Sam Heins, had been appointed by the former US president, Barack Obama, and Heins left Oslo before Trump’s inauguration.
Brende maintained his stand, though, claiming that “as in many other European countries, both the prime minister and I have been very clear” in their opposition to the new US travel bans on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. They also have called it “extremely unfortunate” that the US won’t take in any refugees for at least the next four months.
Brende also noted that he had communicated the Norwegian government’s position on the social media platform Twitter, noting it was perhaps the “most effective communication form.” Trump is known for his own frequent use of Twitter, while Brende exercises far more restraint. Opposition politician Audun Lysbakken of the Socialist Left party questioned, though, whether Trump had seen Brende’s tweet.
“I appreciate the fact that the foreign minister is also on Twitter,” Lysbakken said in Parliament, “but I don’t know whether Donald Trump is among the foreign minister’s followers.”