Norwegian Rocket Incident Settled

Norwegian Rocket Incident Settled

by Yuriy Kozlov and Aleksandr Stepanenko
Moscow ITAR-TASS, 27 January 1995

[FBIS Transcribed Text] Moscow January 27 TASS -- Norwegian
Ambassador to Russia Per Tresselt confirmed to ITAR-TASS over
the telephone today he has visited the Russian Foreign Ministry
twice within the past two days. Today the ambassador met
director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's second European
department Yuriy Fokin.
Both visits were caused by the need to clarify the issue of 
scientific research rocket launched by Norway to the area of the
Spitsbergen archipelago. Well-informed sources said that the
second visit to the Russian Foreign Ministry was caused by the
fact that during the rocket flight the Russian president tried
out the special communications set, the so-called "black case"
with nuclear codes.
Oslo has reported that Ambassador Tresselt was instructed to
"lament" over a pronouncement of the Russian president made in
Lipetsk where the president thanked Russian military for tracing
the missile route. According to the report, Norwegians
initially thought it could be the matter of testing Russian
combat readiness with their rocket.
Official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry
Mikhail Demurin told ITAR-TASS that during the second visit of
the Norwegian ambassador to the Russian Foreign Ministry the
sides agreed to prevent similar incidents in future.
The ungrounded incident was caused by an incorrect
description of the Norwegian rocket as a military missile by a
Russian news agency (not ITAR-TASS). The agency reported that
the rocket was allegedly shot down by the Russian forces who
watched the rocket flight, and the West alarmed. Some time
later the agency refuted its report with a reference to
competent bodies.
In fact, it was a geodesic rocket launched in accordance 
with the schedule within the framework of a scientific program for
arctic research. Norway informed the Russian Foreign Ministry
of the launch in advance, and the ministry reported on the issue
to the Russian Defence Ministry.