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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway's populist Progress Party could leave the center-right government coalition over a decision to bring back home an Islamic State group-linked woman and her two children from a detention camp in Syria.
The anti-immigration party, Norway’s third-largest, is one of Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s four coalition members, together with her Conservatives, the centrist Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats..
The 29-year-old Norweigan woman of Pakistani descent reportedly traveled to Syria in 2013 and married a Norwegian foreign fighter there who was later killed in fighting. One of her children is quite ill.
“Many believe she used her child as a shield to come back to Norway. There are many in Norway who are displeased by this, not just in the Progress Party,” said party leader Siv Jensen, who is also Norway’s finance minister.
The party felt it was not consulted when the decision was made to bring back the woman and her children to Norway. She was formally arrested Saturday upon her return and was placed in an Oslo hospital with her two children,
“A majority in the government believed that the concern for the child was paramount,” said Solberg,
The mother, who was not named, refused to let the sick child travel alone to Norway, which then allowed her to travel from the Kurdish-controlled camp at Al-Hol where they had been detained since March 2019.
Solberg and Jensen were to meet later Monday to discuss whether the Progress Party should remain in the government.
The government must muster a majority in the 169-seat Storting, or Parliament.
Solberg has been prime minister of the Scandinavian country since 2013 when she formed a coalition with the Progress Party. The parties won renewed support for the steering the country in the 2017 election.
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