5/15/02: “However, Dagbladet has learned that [Norway’s] Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is backing Mr Petersen’s efforts to ‘clear up’ the [Roed-Larsen/Juul] situation. This could mean public hearings involving the questioning of former Foreign Ministers.”

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo – Press Division – Norway Daily 5/15/02

Tight-lipped Mona Juul back in Tel Aviv (Aftenposten)

After two days of meetings with her Foreign Ministry superiors, a tired Mona Juul returned to Israel yesterday evening. She has been telling senior officials at the Foreign Ministry about the prize money she received from the Peres Foundation in Israel in 1999. Concluding the meetings both sides signed a protocol of dispute in accordance with section 18 of the Civil Service Act. Section 18 covers the procedures to be used if a civil servant is to be reprimanded, given the sack or dismissed without notice. It is now up to Foreign Minister January Petersen to make up his mind. Ambassador Mona Juul yesterday declined to comment on the substance of her meetings. “I explained my point of view, which I have previously done in writing, and that is all I can say on the matter,” said Ms Juul to NRK before returning to Israel.

Stoltenberg defends Juul appointment (Dagsavisen)

Labour deputy leader Jens Stoltenberg has said he sees nothing wrong in Mona Juul being appointed Ambassador to Israel during his term as Prime Minister, despite the fact that she was a State Secretary in the government which appointed her. Ms Juul’s appointment has recently been attacked both because a number of Foreign Ministry officials claim she received the attractive ambassadorship ‘out of turn’, and because she was part of the same political leadership which appointed her. In addition, the post was not advertised internally. Yesterday the Storting’s Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs Committee sent a number of questions to the Foreign Ministry regarding the appointment. The Committee wants to know if the appointment followed normal procedures.

Petersen: Juul’s job as safe as anyone’s (Dagsavisen)

“Ambassador Mona Juul is in exactly the same position as any other ambassador when it comes to job security,” said Foreign Minister January Petersen to Dagsavisen. Mr Petersen is thought to have been incensed by an article in yesterday’s Aftenposten claiming he was about to ask Ms Juul to seek another post within the Foreign Ministry. The leaks will be dealt with internally within the Ministry, whose political leadership now intends to insist that employees toe the line.

Full investigation into peace process spending (Dagbladet)

The Storting’s Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs Committee has called for a full investigation into the way Norwegian cash was spent in connection with the Middle East peace process. This gives Foreign Minister January Petersen a welcome opportunity to dismantle what he has called the Labour network in Norwegian foreign policy. Former Foreign Minister Thorbjørn Jagland reacted strongly to Mr Petersen’s comments about the Labour network during the Conservative Party’s annual conference, though his public statement on the issue was subdued. However, Dagbladet has learned that Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is backing Mr Petersen’s efforts to ‘clear up’ the situation. This could mean public hearings involving the questioning of former Foreign Ministers.

Worth Noting

Progress Party chairman Carl I. Hagen has launched a fierce attack on Foreign Minister January Petersen for his handling of the ‘peace prize affair’. “In my opinion Mr Petersen has handled this matter badly and will find his reputation tarnished as a result.” (Dagavisen) Ambassador Mona Juul does not need to pay the prize money back to the Peres Centre or hand it over to the Foreign Ministry, regardless of the final outcome of the affair. The Foreign Ministry’s legal advisers have reached this conclusion after considering whether Mona Juul should be required to repay the NOK 450,000 she received from the Peres Centre in 1999. (Verdens Gang)

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo – Press Division – Norway Daily 5/10/02

Declined a seat on the Peres board (Dabladet)

Former State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry January Egeland declined the offer of a seat on the international board of the Peres Peace Centre in Israel. Mr Egeland felt it was not proper to involve himself in an institution which was, at the same time, receiving large grants of money from Norway. Thorbjørn Jagland and Terje Rød-Larsen on the other hand both accepted Shimon Peres’s invitation.

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo – Press Division – Norway Daily – 5/13/02

Norway donated millions to Peres Centre after peace prize award (Dagsavisen/Saturday)

A fortnight after Mona Juul and her husband Terje Rød-Larsen had received their peace prizes, the Peres Centre was promised almost NOK 4 million by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. The donation, NOK 3,750,000, is by far the largest single amount which the Norwegian authorities have ever granted to the Peres Centre. The money was promised despite an internal Foreign Ministry memo which warned about the uncritical nature of the grants made to the Centre, and despite the fact that the Foreign Ministry had not received an auditor’s report or any other satisfactory reports about what the Norwegian money was being spent on.

Lønning believes Mona Juul will get the sack (Dagbladet/Saturday)

Mona Juul’s tenure as Norway’s Ambassador to Israel could soon be over, according to Inge Lønning, the Conservative Party’s foreign policy spokesman. Mr Lønning has also confirmed that he has discussed Ms Juul’s role with Foreign Minister January Petersen. “As I see it, in the long term we would not be best served to have an ambassador who is so controversial,” said Mr Lønning.

Mona Juul summoned home to explain herself (Verdens Gang/Sunday) The Foreign Ministry has decided it wants Norway’s Ambassador to Israel, Mona Juul, to return to Oslo to answer a growing list of questions regarding the peace prize worth NOK 450,000 which she received from the Peres Centre. “The need to have a serious chat with her has grown over the past few days,” confirmed a Foreign Ministry source. Behind the move is, among other things, VG’s revelations that Mona Juul was central in handling a series of requests for money from the Peres Centre in 1997 and 1998, before she and her husband Terje Rød-Larsen received a prize from the Centre in January 1999.

Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo – Press Division – Norway Daily 5/8/02

The Progress Party wants a full account of travel, car, office, entertainment and other expenses covered by Norwegian contributions to the Peres Centre for Peace. In a draft letter reeking of distrust of Terje Rød-Larsen and his wife, Mona Juul, Carl I. Hagen is asking the Storting’s Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs to take up the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Aftenposten)