World News

Norway and Poland to expel diplomats in tit-for-tat exchange

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will expel a Polish diplomat who had clashed with local officials after Warsaw declined to recall him, the Norwegian foreign ministry said on Monday.

Poland said it would expel a Norwegian diplomat in exchange, in a rare spat between the two countries which have strong economic links.

Norway had decided to expel Polish consul Slawomir Kowalski because his behavior was not compatible with his diplomatic status, the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman said.

She said the ministry had received numerous complaints from officials that the consul has obstructed their work.

Norwegian media said Kowalski had been involved in several cases where Polish citizens were disputing decisions by Norwegian child protection services.

“This is an extremely unjustified decision,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said on Twitter.

“The only possible decision in this situation is mutual action, which will be carried out immediately,” he added.

Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement that a Norwegian diplomat had been declared “persona non grata” in Poland, following Norway’s decision.

Norway’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Poles account for the largest immigrant group in the Nordic country of 5.3 million people, estimated at around 98,000 in 2018, according to Statistics Norway.

Poland is also the top export market for Norwegian seafood and an important buyer of Norwegian defense-related products.

Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis, additional reporting by Anna Koper in Warsaw; Editing by Toby Chopra