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Nordic Ministers Meet, Clash over Whaling

Published onsdag 9 april 2008 kl 12.00

Swedish and other Nordic and Baltic government leaders have been meeting in Northern Sweden for top-level discussions of continuing Nordic co-operation, work in the European Union - where all are members except for Norway and Iceland which have special ties with the EU and other questions.

Open criticism is rare in these Nordic-Baltic get-togethers – but visible irritation sparked between Nordic leaders speaking to Swedish Television News about Norway’s and Iceland’s announced intention to continue whaling in the next few weeks – in defiance of the international ban.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has openly criticized the 2 Nordic neighbors - insisting that all nations have to respect the desire to keep a balance of nature and refrain from hunting whales:

Both Iceland and Norway have refused to sign the global ban on whaling, insisting that there are enough whales in the world’s oceans. Norway has set a limit this year at 1,000.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg insists that Norwegian whline is fully defensible and that his nation follows scientific advice about the size of the catch:

Back at home in Iceland and Norway, some critics claim that no matter how many whales are or aren’t in the ocean, whaling costs both countries loose too much good will and cancelled tourist visits - and that both income and nature would benefit by more whale safaris with cameras instead of harpoons in the icy waters of the north.

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