Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Aid program in Ethiopia may be reduced" Minister of International Development Erik Solheim says

Important aid projects in Ethiopia may be reduced, after six diplomats at the Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa have been asked to leave, Minister of International Development Erik Solheim says

He says it is still uncertain which projects will be affected, and how large the cuts will be.

Solheim says that Norwegian authorities wish for a continuing dialogue with Ethiopian auhorities on how the aid program is to be continued.

The reason for the cuts is that the remaining embassy staff of three will not be able to administer the work previously done by nine persons.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere says to Aftenposten that the annual aid directly administered by the embassy staff is around NOK 100 million, and that this may be reduced by NOK 30 million.

Stoere underlines that this is not a form of punishment, but a consequence of the reduced manpower at the embassy following the expulsion of six diplomats.

However, most of Norway's aid to Ethiopia is distributed through the UN and other organisations, and will not be affected, the Norwegian Foreign Minster says.

Last year Ethiopia received NOK 268 million in aid from Norway.



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