OSLO, Norway, February 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Norwegian Government is to contribute NOK 30 million to the UN trust funds for Mali. The Government is also willing to consider a contribution if the proposed UN-led peacekeeping operation to Mali is established.
“Norway will contribute NOK 20 million to the UN Trust Fund for Mali. This funding is earmarked for human rights efforts and for preparations for the election,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.
A further NOK 10 million will go to the UN Trust Fund for AFISMA, the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, and will be earmarked for civilian police units and human rights observers.
“This funding will be additional to the annual Norwegian contribution of NOK 80 million to Mali. Norway has been working in Mali since the 1980s. We will consider allocating further funding on an ongoing basis, in a close dialogue with the authorities, the UN and other donors,” continued Mr Holmås.
“Administrative structures and the rule of law need to be re-established as quickly as possible in the areas that have been retaken from the rebels. Unless the local population can see progress, there is a risk that the Islamists will be able to regain control. There is an acute need for immediate action,” explained Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
“Norway supports the proposal to establish a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The Government will consider a contribution if the Security Council acts on this proposal,” said the Foreign Minister.
Norwegian contributions to UN-led operations in Africa are in line with the Government’s policy platform.
The plan is to incorporate the African force that is now being built up into the proposed UN mission. The Security Council is discussing the matter. A UN mandate would simplify funding for the operation, logistics and the command structure. It is expected that a UN mission would consist mainly of African troops, but possibly with contributions from other parts of the world.
The EU has decided to send up to 500 military instructors to train the Malian army. At this stage, Norway will give priority to the proposed UN-led operation, and will not contribute to the EU force.
Norway is a substantial donor of humanitarian and development assistance through the UN and through NGOs that are already active in Mali. Norway’s contribution to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund will help to meet some of the immediate needs. Norway is also prepared allocating additional funding.