Norwegian PM apologises for Breivik attack response

Norway’s premier has apologised to the country’s citizens over the authorities’ handling of the 22 July terror attacks.

Jens Stoltenberg’s comments came during an address to Norwegian parliament just days after right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced for the dual attacks in Oslo and on Utoeya Island last summer, which resulted in 77 deaths and dozens of injuries.

Stoltenberg said he took personal responsibility for the shortfalls of the emergency response effort, details of which were revealed in a highly critical report issued earlier this month. Stoltenberg called the response effort “unacceptable”, and said, “For this I apologise,” the BBC reports.

He went on to add, “We can never correct mistakes made in the past, but we can learn from the past. And to do that we must create a more secure future.”

The Prime Minister’s comments were likely in reference to the fact that local authorities delayed the response to the shooting rampage on Utoeya Island as they waited for better-trained officials to arrive on the scene.

Meanwhile, Breivik’s 21-year sentence – the harshest possible penalty for Norwegian criminals – has brought fresh calls for Oslo to introduce life sentences to its justice system.

Deputy Defence Minister Roger Ingebrigtsen said last week, “Terrorism was something distant and incomprehensible when the maximum time limit of 21 years was set. It is not the case today. Future terrorists should know that they risk imprisonment for serious crimes in Norway,” the Nordleys news agency reports.