Norway to cut aid to Ethiopia

Aftenposten / August 30, 2007

Ethiopia's decision to expel six of nine Norwegian diplomats from the country means Ethiopia will lose around NOK 30 million in Norwegian development aid.

"This isn't a punishment, but a consequence of the fact that so many people at the Norwegian Embassy are being kicked out," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr StÝre told newspaper Aftenposten. That will leave a staffing shortage at the embassy, that will hinder its ability to handle foreign aid.

One of the diplomats' most important jobs involved monitoring the use of aid funds that are sent through the embassy. The total amounts to around NOK 100 million (about USD 16 million) this year alone.

With only three diplomats left on the embassy staff, capacity to handle aid funding is sharply reduced, and the aid itself will be reduced as well.

Most of the aid Norway extends to Ethiopia is channeled through the United Nations, and it won't be affected. Norway donated a total of NOK 268 million to Ethiopia last year.

StÝre wouldn't say exactly what led to the expulsion, noting only that "we need to go through our experience." He expects to meet his Ethiopian counterpart in New York next month, at the US General Assembly.

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