Norway`s Justice Minister resigns post July attacks

Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg said Storberget had long planned to leave for personal reasons but stayed on to complete a report on the July attacks.

Oslo: Norway`s Minister of Justice and Police, Knut Storberget, resigned on Friday after months of intense pressure to explain shortcomings in the country`s response to July attacks by a far-right fanatic that killed 77 people.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg replaced Storberget with Defence Minister Grete Faremo, a versatile Labour Party veteran, saying Storberget had long planned to leave for personal reasons but stayed on to complete a report to parliament on the attacks.

He acknowledged that Storborget shared some responsibility for what went wrong in the response to the July 22 bombing and shooting by anti immigration militant Anders Behring Breivik.

"It is clear that not everything functioned as well as it could have, and that is the reason we are now strengthening our capabilities," Stoltenberg told a news agency.

"We all have responsibility for what functioned well and the things that did not."

He said Faremo, who served as Justice Minister in the 1990s, would take over a ministry in need of reorganisation, more resources and a clearer focus on emergency preparedness.

Stoltenberg appointed Espen Barth Eide, a deputy minister in the Foreign Ministry, to replace Faremo as Defence Minister.

Storberget, who has three children and served six years as Justice Minister, was not immediately available for comment.

On Thursday he told Parliament that a government-appointed commission already at work should look closely at why it took more than an hour for police to arrest Breivik after he began shooting people at a Labour Party summer camp outside Oslo.

The commission is expected to report in autumn 2012.

Some relatives of victims have expressed anger that Storberget refused to apologise for what went wrong and for prior budgetary decisions that undermined response capability.

Trine Skei Grande, head of the opposition Liberal Party, told state broadcaster NRK that Norway failed as a nation when Breivik detonated a bomb in Oslo and then went to the island.

She welcomed Storberget`s resignation as "a fine gesture to the victims` families."

Faremo said she would soon meet the families of some victims to discuss their concerns about the lack of clarity over the response and lack of access to autopsies and other records.

Bureau News

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