06:57 GMT +325 March 2017
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    Former Norwegian PM Tells West to 'Give Up' on Crimea, Drop Sanctions

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    Norwegian Conservative Party heavyweight Kåre Willoch, who previously served as Trade Minister, Prime Minister and President of the Nordic Council, has surprised his fellow party members by his take on Crimea, which is rather unorthodox by European standards.

    Eighty-eight-year-old Norwegian Conservative superstar Kåre Willoch, received a warm reception at the recent Conservative congress and voiced a clear, yet somewhat unconventional, political message, which obviously contradicts Norway's line.

    Kåre Willoch stated that it was unrealistic that Crimea would ever return to Ukraine, urged Europe to drop anti-Russian sanctions as unmistakably harmful for the both parties and even stressed NATO was responsiblefor the recent standoff between Russia and the West.

    "NATO's insinuations that Ukraine could possibly become a member state was the beginning of an entirely superfluous sharpening of contradictions between Russia and the West," Kåre Willoch said, as quoted by the Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang.

    Furthermore, Willoch suggested that it is unlikely that Crimea would return to Ukraine after its re-unification with Russia in 2014. Consequently, it is improbable that the EU's sanctions against Russia would somehow force Moscow to change its stance on the Crimean issue.

    "I cannot see any realism behind expectations that Crimea will return to Ukraine. Moreover, Crimeans themselves have not expressed any desire for coming back," Kåre Willoch said.

    According to Willoch, the mutual sanctions war is largely detrimental to the both parties and should be stopped.

    "The whole of Europe will be better off if Russia gets better financially. The economy is reciprocal. Besides, it is easier to keep calm in a country that feels well," Willoch told Verdens Gang.

    Finally, Kåre Willoch ventured that NATO and the West are clearly exaggerating the threat from Russia and use it as a pretext for rearmament.

    "Of course, no one is interested in having defensive gaps. However, I fail to see any direct indication that Russia has become much more dangerous, Willoch said.

    Kåre Willoch is a Conservative Party veteran. He served as Minister of Trade, President of the Nordic Council and Prime Minister of Norway, as well as chaired the Conservative party. In contrast, Norway's incumbent Prime Minister and Conservative leader Erna Solberg has repeatedly spoken in favor of anti-Russian sanctions and regards Crimea's re-unification with Russia as "annexation."

    Ironically, a train of thought similar to Willoch's was pursued by another Norwegian veteran politician, yet from rival Labor Party. In January, Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Defense and Foreign Minister and the father of former Prime Minister and present-day NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, confronted the Western sanctions against Russia after the Ukrainian crisis and ventured that they may drive Moscow further away from the West. In his book Breakfast With Thorvald, 85-year-old Stoltenberg Sr. cited previous examples of unsuccessful sanctions against countries like Cuba, Iraq and Serbia, Verdens Gang reported.

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    Tags:
    NATO, Erna Solberg, Thorvald Stoltenberg, Kåre Willoch, Crimea, Russia, Scandinavia, Norway
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    • Mensa
      It is indeed a sign that Europe GDP is falling at alarming rate and growth is slowing down. Europe needs a bad situation in Ukraine for a reason. It will create a lot of jobs, especially now when they are trying so hard to get Ukraine in the EU. They already dropped visa requirements for Ukraine.
    • John Twining
      Current US methodology in foreign affairs is clear. Their initial position vis-à-vis a non-subservient nation state is always based on impossibly implausible terms. For example, N Korea must de-nuclearise; Crimea must be returned to Ukraine; China must recognise Taiwan as not China. It's how Washington tries to make itself look tough, strong and implacable - no pushover, not to be trifled with. But it's just a game of poker. And they're way out of their depth.
    • avatar
      belgradetower
      "The whole of Europe will be better off if Russia gets better financially" - claims ms. Kate Willoch. And she is right.
      However, Europe led by its "daddy" from D.C. has worked so hard to keep Russia poor since ages.

      You may draw conclusion yourself.
    • avatar
      Medvezhonok
      This guy talks plenty of common sense. I just hope he isn't a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
    • Korz53
      Some sanity still out there? Oh good! Thank God the I Am That I Am.
    • avatar
      manofsteel194275
      Sure, it is only right. America, ought to get its nose out of other peoples business, yesterday. I say, Trump is falling thorough his own arse, what a fake he is. Really, what is the difference between Trump, Obama or Bush, none. A few thousand jobs that were probably supposed to come back anyway and a few trade deals that don't mean diddly squat since we don't have anything to trade except guns and bombs. Goldman and the gang still own DC and Trump is still trying to figure out what to do with Obamacare, give me a break.
      Okay, I am turning, faster and faster as I see - nothing changing for us, nothing new for us, just more of the same ole same ole. And, I am tired of hearing from Alex Jones about how his show is so great and Trump is so wonderful, like Goldman robbing the US to pay Rothschild, what goes around just keeps going around. I dread the day, coming, when Rothschild says no more, I am tired of carrying your debt 'America.' The Banks close, the welfare stops, the food line stretches around the block and we, like the fools we are, stand looking at each other, crying, but my kid's, what are we going to eat. Alex and Trump, they'll eat, and laugh, laugh until they throw up, what creeps these fools really are they swear as they choke down a big slug of prime.
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