December 21, 2005
Dear Mr. Foxman:
Thank you for your letter of December 20, forwarded by your Office of Government and National Affairs in Washington, D.C.
It is not the policy of the Norwegian Government to impose sanctions on imports of Israeli goods. Sanctions will not contribute in any positive way to the endeavors currently being made from the international community in order to make the parties in the Middle East conflict return to the negotiating table. We hope that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza can open opportunities that could make the parties resume the political process. Furthermore, we would like to encourage both parties in the conflict to respect international law, prior agreements between the parties and the relevant UN resolutions.
The decision you refer to in your mail was made on December 15 by the Council of the County of Soer-Troendelag. The counties, of which there are 19 in Norway, may express views in international as in all other matters. The decision in question is, consequently, an expression of opinion from a local Council which by no means are in no position to make binding decisions on foreign relations. These decisions have to be made by the Government. In addition, binding sanctions of any kind must be passed as laws or legally based resolutions sanctioned by the Government.
I hope that this information serves to clarify the issues and concerns raised in your letter. Please feel free to contact us again should you have any further questions.
Royal Norwegian Embassy