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6 October 2006
Government budget for 2007 - Efforts in the Middle East to be intensified
The Government’s involvement and political efforts in the Middle East will be continued, and development assistance will be increased considerably in 2007. The Government will pursue an active policy in the international donor community, and will cooperate closely with UN bodies and agencies.
The Government will increase the allocation to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from NOK 100 million in 2006 to NOK 150 million in 2007. In the Government’s view, UNRWA is helping to stabilise the situation in the Middle East through its efforts to improve the living conditions of a large ethnic group in the region. In addition, allocations for humanitarian efforts and peace and reconciliation measures in the region will be increased by NOK 150 million. At the same time, the possibility of providing development assistance to Lebanon is being considered. The Government’s aim is to help make Lebanon less vulnerable both to friction between different ethnic groups and to pressure from its neighbours.
“When conflicts flare up, as was the case in the Middle East this summer, we see clearly that the need for political solutions and the need for concrete assistance go hand-in-hand. The need for humanitarian assistance and measures to promote peace, reconciliation and more long-term development has increased both in Lebanon and in the Palestinian Territory. Therefore, we are intensifying our efforts in the region,” said the Foreign Minister.