Norwegian PM pledges additional Afghanistan aid

jens-stoltenberg-littleThe Norwegian government has pledged to send more economic assistance to Afghanistan. The commitment was announced by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday 6 February during a meeting with Afghani President Hamid Karzai in Oslo. The move will see a further NOK 750 million (EUR 101 million) sent to the strife-torn country each year.

Stoltenberg said in a statement, however, that the package would be awarded conditionally depending on the Afghani government’s performance in terms of ensuring human rights, good governance and transparency.

He said, “I made it clear to President Karzai that if Afghanistan fulfils its obligations, Norway will continue its support for the country,” The Local reports. He added, “We have zero tolerance for corruption.”

President Karzai said that he would work to ensure that Afghani authorities put the funds to good use through the remainder of his current term, which will end in 2014.

Meanwhile, some Norwegian officials have expressed concern over whether or not the funds will get past steadfast corruption in Afghanistan and go toward protecting the rights of people in need.

Norwegian Conservative Party MP Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide told the media, “There’s all reason to be extra alert. The challenge is that the country’s constitution provides rights, for example to women, and limits presidential terms, but reality can be something else entirely,” reports.