Mahmoud Abbas in Oslo

The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, is visiting Norway today. One of the topics on the agenda during his visit is how Norwegian assistance to the Palestinians could continue in the current situation, including alternative channels for providing support. As the EU, Norway is among the main contributors of aid to the Palestinian people.

09/05/2006 :: During his stay in Oslo, the Palestinian President have had talks with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre, and Minister of International Development, Erik Solheim. Abbas will also meet HRH Crown Prince Haakon, the President of the Storting Thorbjørn Jagland and Members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. The Palestinian President held a lecture at the Nobel Institute, entitled “The Cause of Palestine – Reality and Future Prospects”, where he said that he is making maximum efforts to resume peace negotiations with Israel.

After the meeting with Abbas, Prime Minister Stoltenberg said Norway will start reviewing a number of projects for Norwegian funding worth approximately 20 million USD within the health and education sectors as well as for energy supplies. Norway will also start supporting the President’s office directly in order to improve its ability to work with the international donor community.  Together with the President’s office Norway will work to fine-tune the mechanisms for co-operation on these and other projects

Norway supports the aim of a two-state solution, where a viable Palestinian state and Israel are able to live side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders. Norway has provided substantial support to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority for many years as a means of promoting such a solution.

In March the Norwegian Government disbursed USD 10 million directly to the Palestinian Authority. This is equivalent to approximately 70 per cent of the money disbursed directly in 2005 as a whole. As there are no immediate plans to transfer additional Norwegian funds directly to the Palestinian Authority, no planned transfers have been stopped. A decision concerning specific payments will be made when necessary. The Norwegian Government has indicated that it will follow the situation closely to see what policy the new Palestinian government will pursue.

(Published 26.04.06)


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President Abbas arrived in Oslo in the evening of 25 AprilPhoto: Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo