High Norwegian profile in Iraq sanctions case

United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan has appointed former Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg to lead an independent commission to study humanitarian conditions in Iraq.

Assuming that Stoltenberg and his commission are granted access to Iraq, they could play an important role in the U.N. Security Council's debate over the proposed lifting of sanctions that have isolated Iraq economically since the Persian Gulf War. Stoltenberg is the father of Norway's current prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg. The U.N. General Assembly recently selected Norway for a temporary seat on the Security Council, and there is speculation that the Norwegian representative there will be assigned to head the council's Iraqi sanctions committee.