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Posts Tagged ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs’

Exports of defence-related products from Norway in 2012

Posted by African Press International on October 5, 2013

The Government is today presenting the annual white paper to the Storting on Norwegian exports of defence-related products, export control and international non-proliferation efforts.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ processing of applications for the export of defence-related products has become more stringent. Decisions are now based on even more thorough assessments of conditions within potential recipient countries than was the case before,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

In 2012, the total value of exports of defence-related products, technology and services for military purposes, production rights, brokering, and dual-use items for military use was almost NOK 4.6 billion. Of this amount, exports of defence-related products accounted for around NOK 3.9 billion.

The main recipients of defence-related products from Norway are Norway’s allies and other European countries.

Norwegian defence industry companies are dependent on good and predictable conditions. They play an important role in value creation and technology development. The Government intends to facilitate continued exports by having strict and clear regulations,” said Mr Eide.

One area in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ practice in this area has become more stringent is the risk assessments that are made concerning the use of defence-related products for internal repression in the recipient country concerned. The requirements for documentation identifying the end-user have also been made stricter. Altogether, 18 applications for export licences for defence-related products were refused in 2012.

Updated guidelines for the Ministry’s processing of applications to export defence-related products were published on 16 September. The white paper that is now being presented describes the work to further tighten export control procedures.

“In recent years, the Government has increased transparency on exports of defence-related products. This is important for maintaining confidence in Norwegian export control legislation, and for ensuring support for companies that are vitally important for our national security and defence capability,” said Mr Eide.

The white paper provides detailed information on the types of military goods that have been exported, the countries they have been exported to, and the value of the exports. It also contains information on the export licence applications that have been refused.

The white paper also discusses Norwegian legislation and multilateral cooperation on export control and non-proliferation.

The total value of sales of weapons and ammunition (Category A materiel) was NOK 3.3 billion in 2012, while the value of sales of other goods that have been specifically developed or modified for military purposes (Category B materiel) was NOK 574 million. The value of exports of these goods increased by around 8 % from 2011 to 2012.

The main recipients of defence-related products from Norway are NATO countries, and Sweden and Finland. In 2012, 78 % of Norway’s total exports of Category A materiel and 90 % of Norway’s total exports of Category B materiel were to these countries.

 

End source mfa.norway

 

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Useful review of the EEA and Norway Grants

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

“It is encouraging that the Office of the Auditor General is of the view that the EEA and Norway Grants help to strengthen contact and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries. I am pleased that the Office of the Auditor General notes that our approach has become more focused and targeted,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General today presented its performance audit of the EEA and Norway Grants. The overall objectives of the EEA and Norway Grants are to contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA, and to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries.

“The report provides a useful review of our work on the EEA and Norway Grants, and it endorses the changes the Ministry has initiated,” said Mr Eide.

The EEA and Norway Grants have become an instrument of Norwegian foreign policy, and they help to promote social and democratic development in Europe.

“The contribution we make through the Grants acts as a door opener and it creates forums and cooperation on a scale that would otherwise have been impossible,” said Mr Eide.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report supports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ introduction of a new administrative model for the Grants. The report concludes that this has helped to promote a more focused approach, and that performance management has improved and cooperation between Norway and the beneficiary countries has been strengthened.

At the same time, the Office of the Auditor General recommends that the ongoing work on performance management should be further strengthened, that administration and the provision of technical assistance should be followed up, and that the administrative model should be assessed in terms of its ability to meet the need for controls and ensure good performance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make active use of the investigation in its ongoing work to further develop the administration of the Grants. Quality assurance and performance management will continue to have high priority.

“It is important for Norway to be able to carry out controls and influence how the EEA and Norway Grants are used. We have therefore increased our capacity to carry out controls and engage in risk management. In order to achieve this, we had to use some of the funds to cover the costs of administration and technical assistance,” Mr Eide said.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report and recommendations will be followed up in various forums, including at a risk management seminar in Oslo next week that will gather representatives from all the beneficiary countries and Transparency International.

 

 

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ICC held groundbreaking ceremony for Permanent Premises construction in April

Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2013

 ICC-ASP-20130416-PR898

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the ICC’s new premises on 16 April 2013, from left to right: the Mayor of The Hague, Mr Jozias Johannes van Aartsen; the ASP Vice-President, Ambassador Markus Börlin; the ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song; and the SecrAt the groundbreaking ceremony for the ICC’s new premises on 16 April 2013, from left to right: the Mayor of The Hague, Mr Jozias Johannes van Aartsen; the ASP Vice-President, Ambassador Markus Börlin; the ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song; and the Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Renée Jones-Bos © ICC-CPI
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On Tuesday, 16 April 2013, the International Criminal Court (ICC) held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction work on the Court’s Permanent Premises in The Hague (The Netherlands). Construction will be completed towards the end of 2015, when the premises will be ready for use.

The ceremony was organised by the project’s Oversight Committee, on behalf of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP). The groundbreaking was conducted by four official guests: the ASP Vice-President, Ambassador Markus Börlin; the ICC President, Judge Sang-Hyun Song; the Mayor of The Hague, Mr Jozias Johannes van Aartsen; and the Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Renée Jones-Bos.

Introducing the ceremony, the Chair of the Oversight Committee, Mr. Roberto Bellelli, stated that “this is a point of no return on the path of international criminal justice […] the transition […] to a permanent architecture in international relations [whose] roots […] are being excavated in a visible and permanent structure in the ground of The Hague, in a mutually reinforcing relationship of Peace and Justice between this City and the ICC.”

“In just over two years, the ICC will be housed in an iconic group of buildings that will leave visitors with a strong image of the Court: that of an august institution established to combat impunity by imparting justice in accordance with the rule of law”, said ASP Vice-President Ambassador Börlin.

“An institution of global significance deserves a world class premises. That, I am pleased to say, is what we are building here”, stated ICC President Song.

“This summer we will be celebrating the centenary of the Peace Palace, the symbol of The Hague as the International City of Peace and Justice. Almost a century after the Peace Palace opened its doors, work begins on building what has been described as ‘the Peace Palace of the 21st century’: the International Criminal Court”, noted the Mayor of The Hague, Mr van Aartsen.

“The new ICC-building will become a landmark in the Netherlands and we are proud to have it on our territory. Our commitment with the ICC is consistent with a vocation to promote international law that is deeply rooted in Dutch history and which is reflected in the Dutch Constitution, said the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Jones-Bos.

 For more photos from this event, please click here​.

About the Permanent Premises

The new Court will be situated between the natural rolling dune landscape and the edge of The Hague on the site where the Alexanderkazerne (Alexander Barracks) were located on the van Alkemadelaan/Oude Waalsdorperweg.

The chosen site is an ideal location, since it is situated close to the ICC Detention Centre and to major roads. The site is part of the International Zone of The Hague which also contains the Peace Palace, Europol, ICTY, OPCW and The Hague World Forum.

The host state (The Netherlands) made the site available free of charge. The project is funded by the 122 States Parties that have ratified the Rome Statute, through a mixture of one-time payments or via the utilisation of a loan offered by the host state. In addition, the host state organised and financed the architectural design competition, which started at the end of 2008.

In 2010 the Danish firm schmidt hammer lassen was selected to design the new premises, as its design met all the ICC’s criteria, including design quality, sustainability, functionality and cost. In October 2012 the tendering procedure for the General Contractor was completed and the combination Visser & Smit Bouw and Boele & van Eesteren (“Courtys”) was selected for the realisation of the ICC’s Permanent Premises.

About the ICC

The International Criminal Court is the first permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

 

Source:ICC

 

 

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Norway first in the world to audit developing country debt

Posted by African Press International on August 18, 2013

A new report of developing countries’ debt owed to Norway, was presented in Oslo yesterday. “Norway is the first country in the world to have carried out an independent audit of debt agreements. We are doing this to make sure that we are living up to our responsibility as a lender to developing countries,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Eidsvoll Holmås.

Unmanageable debt burdens are one of the fundamental causes of poverty in developing countries. While the international community gives USD 141 billion in aid to developing countries annually, the developing countries pay back USD 464 billion each year to their creditors. Many of the debt agreements were entered into when economic, political and social conditions were uncertain.

“Although the solvency of many countries, such as Brazil, is improving, the debt burden is hampering development in some poor countries. These countries are having difficulty servicing old debt agreements made on unfavourable terms. We now want to address this,” said Mr Holmås, who referred to the first creditor-initiated debt audit as a milestone in Norwegian and international debt policy.

The audit report has been carried out by Deloitte under commission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It covers 34 debt agreements with seven countries: Egypt, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Most of the agreements are between 20 and 30 years old. The debts have a total value of almost NOK 1 billion, and when interest on overdue payments is added to this, the total amount is almost four times as much. The report shows that the agreements were largely concluded in accordance with the previous rules and regulations, and partially in accordance with the current rules and the UNCTAD principles. However, it also identifies weaknesses in some of the agreements, which the Government will examine more closely.

“We are once again demonstrating that we are leading the way when it comes to international debt policy, which was a goal for the current coalition Government. We have cancelled almost NOK 7 billion in debts owed to Norway by developing countries over the last eight years, and this has helped the countries to release national resources for poverty reduction. I am pleased that Norway is setting new standards for using the UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing, and I urge other countries to follow suit,” said Mr Holmås.

 

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