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Norway's Former Defence Minister Stresses the Need for US Support in Ukraine Conflict

Published February 27, 2024
3 months ago

The call for continued and robust support for Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression has been echoed by Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway's former Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs. In a recent interview with the Daily Maverick in Cape Town, Søreide underscored the imperative role of the United States in aiding Ukraine, espousing the view that Europe alone is insufficient to fulfill Ukraine’s burgeoning needs.

As Norway's prominent figure in foreign affairs and current chair of the Norwegian Parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committee, Søreide shared her concerns over the potential delay of a significant $60-billion aid package from the Biden administration. Divisions within the United States, particularly among Republican lawmakers, may impede the package's approval before the critical election period, according to Søreide, who recently met with US lawmakers to discuss the matter.

While Europe has shown robust support with the European Union mustering a $54-billion package for Ukraine and Norway itself committing over $7-billion over five years, the extensive requirements for military equipment and materiel highlight that Europe’s capacity alone is lacking. Søreide's apprehensions focus on the implications of America's internal political strife on international support for Ukraine.

As the conflict drags into its third year, the reliance on Western armaments has never been more apparent. Much of the equipment crucial to Ukraine's defense must be sourced from both Europe and the US, and any shortfall could significantly undermine Ukraine's capacity to defend its people against the continued brutality of Russian forces.

However, the ramifications of the conflict extend beyond just the military dynamics. Søreide emphasized the significance of the struggle for the integrity of the international rules-based system—a principle that Norway feels South Africa, as a constitutional democracy, should support. South Africa's delicate position amidst this polarized global stage, trying to balance relations between its political ally Russia and the economically critical West, was also highlighted.

To fortify the international judicial system and uphold global trade regulations, Søreide stressed the importance of cooperation through diverse entities, including the World Trade Organization, where Norway and South Africa, among others, are working to restore the trade dispute appeal mechanism.

Turning to the Israel-Hamas conflict, Søreide commended South Africa for utilizing international legal avenues while maintaining that decisions regarding genocide and war crimes should lie with the courts. She reiterated Norway's condemnation of the terrorist attacks by Hamas and its call for Israel to adhere to international law.

As the war in Gaza escalates, Norway continues to provide substantial aid and political support to the Palestinians, reinforcing the necessity for a two-state solution to ensure lasting peace and security in the region. The continuation of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) serves as an instrumental platform for dialogue and practical cooperations between the conflicting parties.

In conclusion, Søreide's visit and statements amplify the essential need for global unity and adherence to international legal standards in addressing complex and impactful conflicts such as those in Ukraine and the Middle East. The gravity of the situation commands a concerted effort, particularly from leading nations, to navigate these crises with tenacity, dignity, and respect for human rights and democratic principles.

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