Norway, The Only european Nation
with a Government for Peace and Mediation?
From: "Kristoffer Larsson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2007 01:27:47 +0200
Norway has resumed direct aid to the Palestinian
administration, unlike the European Union and US. In a
statement on Thursday the Norwegian government said it
had disbursed 60m kroner (£5m; $10m) to pay Palestinian
civil servants' salaries. Norway normalised ties with the
new Palestinian unity government in March - so far the
only Western state to do so.
The EU and US have shunned the unity government because
it is led by Hamas, which they consider a terrorist
group. The unity government also contains members of
Hamas's main rival, Fatah.
"We hope our contribution will help to alleviate the
current social crisis in the Palestinian Territory,
particularly for the many extended families with only one
breadwinner," said Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas
"The critical situation in Gaza has many causes, but
it has been exacerbated by social destitution and
despair. It is therefore particularly important that the
Palestinian authorities receive financial support from
the international community," he said.
His deputy Raymond Johansen held talks with Palestinian
Prime Minister Ismail Haniya in March.
Norway is not an EU member but has played a major role in
past Middle East peacemaking.
In the 1990s, it hosted secret meetings between Israeli
negotiators and members of the Palestine Liberation
Organisation, which led to the signing of the Oslo