Where to put the new US Embassy in Oslo?

usaThe ruling labour party has erupted into a bitter row over the re-zoning of a downtown site on which the new US embassy was to be relocated.

The party’s members within the city government want to rescind an earlier agreement to re-zone an unused site at Huseby for the construction of the new embassy, while members within the state government insist they stick to the original plan.

The Foreign Ministry waded into the argument this week to support the US Embassy, and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called in on Oslo Labour officials on Friday, asking for an explanation.

The City Government might be reacting to strong opposition from local residents who feel it will destroy the last bit of open space in the area and create traffic jams and possible terrorist targets in the area.

The active group, known as Huseby Skogen, have been urging the Americans to accept another site less than a kilometre away, located on a former military command centre just behind the royal guards’ compound. But embassy officials have rejected that and other suggested sites.

Politicians at the national level have been getting involved apparently under pressure from the Americans who are eager to press on and avoid a lengthy court decision.

“This wouldn’t have been an issue now, without the Americans,” said Ivar Christians, deputy leader of Oslo Labour.