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Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Civil war is creeping in slowly in South Sudan

Posted by African Press International on December 21, 2013

OSLO, Norway, December 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “The political leaders in South Sudan must take responsibility for stopping the violence and resolving the conflict through political talks. Unless the violence is brought under control soon, I am afraid the situation could develop into a new civil war,” said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

The civil war that raged in Sudan for more than 20 years, and finally ended in 2005 when a peace agreement was signed between the north and south, caused terrible suffering for the population.

“The current violent conflict in South Sudan and the constant reports of attacks on civilians on the basis of ethnicity give serious cause for concern. I urge the UN, theAfrican Union and other regional organisations to do what they can to persuade the parties to stop the violence and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Norway is prepared to assist where needed with the resources we have at our disposal,” said Mr Brende.

The spread of violence from the capital to other parts of the country is further cause for concern. The UN has confirmed that at least two peacekeepers and two civilians were killed in an attack on the UN base in Jonglei state in South Sudan on 19 December. A group of civilians had sought refuge in the UN base.

“I condemn the killing of the two Indian UN peacekeepers serving in South Sudan in the strongest terms. Attacks on the UN mission and on civilians who have sought protection from the UN are completely unacceptable,” said Mr Brende.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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Refugees in Sudan Resettled in Canada – good for humanity

Posted by African Press International on December 16, 2013


Refugees in Sudan Resettled in Canada

 

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– On the 10th and 11th of December 2013, IOM Sudan arranged for the safe departure of 60 Eritrean refugees to be resettled to Canada from Sudan. IOM Staff from Sudan escorted the refugees to Calgary and Toronto.

The Government of Canada is the first in the top five resettlement countries accepting refugees from Sudan. A total of 711 refugees have been assisted for resettlement from Sudan to Canada in 2013. The other countries on the top five are Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia.

One refugee traveling on 11 December said he felt “happy yet a bit sad departing to the new country, as I do not know what is waiting for me in Canada, but I am sure I will be OK and will adapt soon.”

Prior to the departure to the resettlement countries, refugees received cultural orientation to prepare themselves to adjust and reintegrate in Canada. The IOM Migration Health Unit performed medical screening to ensure that all refugees moving under the auspices of IOM were fit to travel and that they received appropriate medical attention and assistance during all phases of the travel.

IOM in Sudan has been providing a safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation arrangement for refugees in Sudan accepted for resettlement since 2005. There were three hundred fifty two (352) refugees resettled to Canada, Australia and Europe in 2005.

In the time span of 8 years, the number of resettlement countries who joined in providing a durable solution for refugees in Sudan increased to 16. By the end of November 2013, a total of 12,134 refugees, majority being Eritrean refugees, have departed to Canada, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, USA, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.

The refugees are accepted for resettlement under the Government Refugee Quota and Family Reunification Programmes. IOM Sudan works in close coordination with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Commission for Refugees (COR) and the Alien Department of the Ministry of Interior (MOI), Khartoum International Airport Authority in all stages of the pre departure preparation and processing for accepted refugees and their final travel departure from Sudan.

“IOM hopes that more countries will contribute offering a durable solution approach for refugees in Sudan,” said Ester T. Gigir, IOM Programme Cooordinator for Movement and Migration Management.

UNHCR reported that more than 150.000 refugee are in Sudan. This number consists of protracted refugees and new arrival refugees in which Eritrean represents the majority of the caseloads.

 

SOURCE

International Office of Migration (IOM)

 

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Norway gives NOK 20 million to UNICEF’s work in the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 14, 2013


Norway gives NOK 20 million to UNICEF’s work in the Central African Republic

 

OSLO, Norway, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/  “The situation in the Central African Republic is now so serious that the UN humanitarian system has decided to operate collectively at the highest level to mobilise staff, equipment and other resources. Norway is therefore allocating NOK 20 million in funding to UNICEF for its efforts to protect children in the country. In wars and conflicts, children are the most vulnerable group of all,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

 

The UN and aid organisations are reporting a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic, as a result of the escalating armed conflict in the country. Violence against civilians is on the rise, including in the capital Bangui, and a growing number of people are being driven from their homes.

 

“Some of UNICEF’s most important work is protecting children from abuses and suffering caused by conflict. UNICEF ensures that families with children have access to water, shelter and food, and it establishes safe, child-friendly spaces where children can take part in activities and receive help to overcome traumatic experiences. Norway is now making a major contribution to this important work,” said Mr Brende.

 

Norway is providing humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic through the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. Following this latest allocation, Norway’s humanitarian contribution will total NOK 52 million. This sum comes in addition to Norway’s contributions to UN funds and programmes in the country.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Norway increases its humanitarian support to the Central African Republic

Posted by African Press International on December 8, 2013

OSLO, Norway, December 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – “I am very concerned about the security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic. Norway welcomes the decision by the UN Security Council to authorize an expanded peacekeeping force, in order to contribute to the protection of civilians and the restoration of security and public order,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is steadily deteriorating. Attacks on civilians and violations of human rights are widespread, and law and order is virtually absent. The local population and displaced persons are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

The Norwegian Government is therefore increasing its humanitarian support by NOK 20 million, to the International Committee of the Red Cross (NOK 15 million) and Médecins Sans Frontières (NOK 5 million). Norway also contributes to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in CAR. The total humanitarian support to CAR now stands at NOK 32 million. In addition, Norway contributes to other UN funds and programmes in the country.

“I am concerned about the impact of the crisis on the region. There is a risk that the lawlessness we are seeing in the Central African Republic will turn the country into a haven for extremists, armed groups and international organised criminals, thus increasing instability in the region,” Mr Brende said.

The Foreign Minister considers the decision by the UN Security Council to authorise the deployment of an African-led stabilisation force (MISCA), which will be assisted by an expanded French force, to be crucial for the country.

“We are following the situation closely and we will consider further contributions to the humanitarian response early next year,” Mr Brende said, underlining that all parties to the conflict are obliged under international humanitarian law to ensure that people in need have access to humanitarian assistance.

 

SOURCE

Norway – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Norway condemns bomb attacks in Iraq

Posted by African Press International on October 19, 2013

Norway condemns the bomb attacks in Iraq over the past few days, which appear to have killed more than 60 people. I am concerned by the recent surge in violence in Iraq. The situation in the rest of the region is serious, but we must not forget the tensions in Iraq,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.                                                                          

Over the course of the past few days alone, some 11 car bomb attacks have killed at least 60 people in several cities in Iraq, including Baghdad and cities in northern Iraq. No particular groups have claimed responsibility for the attacks, but there are deep divisions between the various political and religious groups in the country.

According to UN estimates, more than 6 000 people have been killed as a result of armed violence in Iraq over the past six months, and close to 15 000 have been injured. The security situation in Iraq has deteriorated steadily since the beginning of the year, and the level of violence is now at its highest since 2008.

“I am concerned about the humanitarian situation in Iraq and about the civilian population, who are affected by the increasing violence. Norway supports the UN’s appeals for an end to the violence,” Mr Brende said.

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Norway: Government to step up global health efforts

Posted by African Press International on October 19, 2013

The GAVI Alliance (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will together receive an additional NOK 330 million in the national budget for 2014. The Government wishes to intensify its efforts to promote child and maternal health globally, to fight deadly diseases and to help to eradicate polio.

“Six million fewer children died in 2012 than in 1990. Deaths from malaria have fallen by 25 % since 2000. Deaths from tuberculosis have fallen by more than 40 % since 1990. And deaths from AIDS fell by 30 % from 2005 to 2012 alone. This shows that the global health effort is producing results. But much remains to be done,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
Polio is in the process of being eradicated. Norway is increasing its support to this work by more than fourfold, with a total allocation of NOK 240 million for 2014. These funds will be administered mainly by the GAVI Alliance, but also by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There is a close link between the use of resources and the results achieved. The money is reaching those for whom it is intended, and is being used effectively. This is why we are increasing our support, knowing  that this work is benefiting women and children, as well as men, all over the world,” said Mr Eide.
The fight against the major deadly diseases AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is being intensified. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will receive an additional NOK 50 million. It is planned that this funding should be increased by a further NOK 100 million in 2015. Altogether it is proposed that NOK 1.7 billion should be allocated to the Global Fund for the period 2014–16.
Norway’s allocation to the GAVI Alliance is to be increased by NOK 100 million. So far 370 million children have been vaccinated through GAVI-supported programmes, and the aim is to reach many more. Norway’s contribution now totals more than NOK 1 billion per year.
“The increase in this year’s budget shows that Norway is shouldering its part of the responsibility for bringing the world closer to achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015,” said Mr Eide.
In total, Norway now spends more than NOK 4 billion of its international development budget on global health. Norway intends to increase focus on universal health coverage. It is the responsibility of individual countries to provide basic health services to their populations, while the role of the international community must be to provide support for national efforts under national ownership.

 

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Norway: Memorial gathering in Oslo for Kenya’s Westgate Victims

Posted by African Press International on October 7, 2013

Kenyans and friends living in Norway gathered this weekend (5th October 2013) to remember those who died in the cowardly terrorist attack that took place in Westgate Shopping Mall on Saturday 21st September where over 65 people were killed.  Some are missing and are yet to be found by their loved ones. No one knows whether they are dead.

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

The Al Shabaab of Somalia took responsibility for the attack, saying they are on a revenge mission against Kenya for their involvement in Somalia. The Kenya Government entered Somalia a couple of years a go to help stabilise the country and help get a government of the people, ridding out the Al Shabaab. There are still small groups operating in the Southern part of Somalia.

The Al Shabaab says the attack in Westgate Mall causing deaths is a signal they are sending to Kenya that there will be more such attacks if Kenya does not remove its soldiers from Somali soil – the government has soldiers participating in the Africa Union army helping the weak Somali government that the Al Shabaab want to dislodge. and turn the country into a Somali Muslim Republic with strict Somali laws.

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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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Norway welcomes UN statement on the humanitarian crisis in Syria

Posted by African Press International on October 4, 2013

Norway is pleased that the UN Security Council has finally reached agreement on a strong statement that condemns the serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Syria, and calls for unhindered humanitarian access,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

The Security Council issued a presidential statement today concerning the lack of respect for international humanitarian law and the grave human rights violations in Syria.

“I am glad that the Security Council has urged the Syrian authorities and the various armed groups to implement concrete actions in a number of areas to ensure that civilians are given protection and assistance,” Mr Eide said.

The Security Council statement condemns the obstacles and impediments put in the way of humanitarian aid deliveries by the Syrian authorities and various armed groups. It calls for unhindered humanitarian access across conflict lines and across national borders when necessary. The lack of access granted to UN and other humanitarian actors seeking to bring help to those in need is currently the greatest humanitarian problem in Syria. The statement also condemns the widespread sexual and gender-based abuse and violence, and focuses particularly on the protection of children.

“It is crucial to demilitarise schools and hospitals, and to combat sexual and gender-based violence, especially to protect the very weakest groups in Syria, including children,” Foreign Minister Eide said.

 

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Norway welcomes UN Security Council agreement on Syria

Posted by African Press International on October 3, 2013

“I am very pleased that the UN Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have finally managed to reach agreement on a robust resolution about the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. The resolution that was adopted by the UN Security Council today determines that the use of chemical weapons constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

For the past week there has been intense diplomatic activity in the UN to reach agreement on a joint resolution in the UN Security Council on Syria’s chemical weapons. The resolution requests the UN Secretary-General to report to the UN Security Council on a regular basis, and gives the OPCW a particular responsibility for ensuring that the Syrian chemical weapons are removed and destroyed.

In advance of the Security Council’s decision, the OPCW Executive, of which Norway is a member, agreed on a plan for Syria’s chemical weapons. Syria is required to destroy these weapons within nine months.

“I hope these decisions by the OPCW and the Security Council will pave the way for practical steps to eliminate Syria’s stocks of chemical weapons as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Foreign Minister Eide said. Norway is considering how we can contribute to this work.

For some time now Norway has been calling for a robust, binding resolution in the Security Council on the conflict in Syria.

“This is a diplomatic breakthrough which I hope will be the first step in a political process that in time can help create peace and bring to an end the terrible suffering in Syria. The civil war in Syria can only be solved by political means, not military action,” said Mr Eide.

 

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OSLO: Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack

Posted by African Press International on September 30, 2013

Solidarity with Kenya – Prayer service

,Pray for Kenya – Pray until something happens!

Kenyans and friends of Kenya living in Oslo, Norway held prayers for Kenya to pray for the country and the victims of Nairobi‘s Westgate Mall terror attack that took place a week ago.

The hosts:

Oslo International Church, Association of Kenyans in Norway and Kenya Students Association in Norway.

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The important song for the day: ITS WELL WITH MY SOUL:

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

Refrain;

It is well, with my soul

It is well, it is well, with my soul

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

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Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack: Only MEMORIES

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Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 1

Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 2

Praying for Kenya in Norway after Westgate Mall Terror attack Part 3

May God bless the people of Kenya. African Press International sends condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones.

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Norway congratulates Bahrain Center for Human Rights on award of 2013 Rafto Prize

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2013

“The prize recognises the courageous and valuable work of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights to promote respect for fundamental human rights in Bahrain. In Norway’s view, independent voices and institutions are vital for promoting freedom of expression. For several years the Bahrain Center for Human Rights has carried out important work in documenting discrimination and violations of freedom of expression and assembly,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

It was announced today that the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BHRC) has been awarded the 2013 Rafto Prize. The Center was established in 2002. In its announcement, the Board of the Rafto Foundation emphasised the Center’s longstanding efforts to promote human rights in Bahrain and draw attention to violations of human rights in an area of the world where this often receives little attention from Western countries.

“The award of the Rafto Prize to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights is also a signal of support and recognition of the important and challenging work being done by human rights defenders in the Gulf region. Norway is following developments in Bahrain closely and is concerned about the human rights situation. We are therefore pleased that an institution from Bahrain has been awarded the 2013 Rafto Prize. We hope that the prize will help to promote wider recognition and respect for the fact that human rights apply to all people – including vulnerable groups such as women, children and migrant workers,” Mr Eide said.

 

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source mfa.norway

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Norway to take in 1 000 Syrian refugees

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2013

 

“The Government decided today to accept 1 000 Syrian refugees for resettlement to Norway. The war in Syria has led to an acute refugee situation. Syria’s neighbouring countries have taken in close to two million refugees. The capacity of these countries is at breaking point and the UNHCR has appealed to other countries to help,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

There is no immediate solution to the conflict in Syria in sight. So far the conflict has led to massive flows of refugees to Syria’s neighbouring countries. In mid-September some 730 000 Syrian refugees were registered in Lebanon, 520 000 were registered in Jordan, 464 000 in Turkey, 117 000 in Iraq and 117 000 in Egypt. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Syria’s neighbouring countries have appealed to countries outside the region to resettle some of the refugees currently living in Syria’s neighbouring countries as a matter of urgency.

“Syria’s neighbouring countries have displayed an enormous sense of responsibility for the refugees from Syria. One in every four people in Lebanon is now a Syrian refugee. Syria’s neighbouring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan, are reaching the limit of what they can cope with. If nothing is done, they may choose to close their borders. It is therefore crucial that Norway and other like-minded countries show solidarity and take in Syrian refugees,” Mr Eide said.

Following calls from UNHCR, Norway has provided substantial aid to help Syrian refugees in Syria’s neighbouring countries. Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Norway has provided a total of NOK 850 million in humanitarian aid.

The further quota of 1 000 refugees from Syria will come in addition to Norway’s annual UNHCR resettlement quota of approximately 1 200 refugees.

“Norway has a tradition of doing what it can in response to major international refugee crises and of providing a safe haven for refugees. This time is no exception. We know that Norwegian municipalities will make every effort to take in and integrate these refugees. As a country we can be proud of this and we will do everything we can to support the municipalities in this process,” said Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Inga Marte Thorkildsen.

The additional resettlement quota that the Government has decided to establish is reserved for refugees from Syria who are recognised by UNHCR, preferably those living in Lebanon and Jordan. The total cost of the quota is estimated to be approximately NOK 770 million.

 

 

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/MFA

 

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Norway condemns terrorist attack in Pakistan

Posted by African Press International on September 23, 2013

Norway condemns the appalling terrorist attack on a church in Peshawar, Pakistan, on 22 September. The attack must be investigated and those responsible brought to justice,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The attack on a church in the old part of the provincial capital Peshawar took place just after Mass on Sunday morning. The congregation had gathered outside the church for a free meal when two explosions killed more than 70 people, including many women and children, and injured more than 100. This is the worst attack on Pakistan’s Christian minority for many years.

“Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the Palestinian people,” said Mr Eide.

The terrorist attack is the latest in a series of tragic attacks on religious communities in Pakistan. These include a number of attacks on the country’s Shia Muslim minority earlier this year. Sunni Muslim extremists are behind them.

“I am very concerned about the growth of terrorist movements in Pakistan.

“These terrorist attacks hit innocent people and are destabilising Pakistan. The authorities must take resolute action,” said Mr Eide.

 

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Good news: Syria has announced that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Posted by African Press International on September 18, 2013

Welcome agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons

“I welcome the agreement reached by Russia and the US on the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons. This is a breakthrough for diplomacy in what has been a deadlocked conflict. Russia and the US must be commended for their efforts to achieve this agreement. I hope this will be the first step in a new diplomatic initiative to bring the civil war in Syria to an end,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

The US and Russia announced on Saturday that they had reached agreement on how the Syrian regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons is to be destroyed. Under the deal, Syria has to provide details of its chemical weapons, including where they are located, within a week. Failure on the part of the Assad regime to comply could lead to a UN Security Council resolution that opens up for the use of force.

Norway, together with the rest of the world, has condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria. At the same time, we have emphasised that it is the Security Council’s responsibility to respond to serious violations of international law. This agreement makes it very clear that the use of chemical weapons will not be accepted by the international community. And the fact that the US and Russia have agreed that further steps must be endorsed by the Security Council is important in itself,” said Mr Eide.

Syria announced Friday (13th of september) that it will join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Syria already had extensive obligations under international law. All the same, it is a positive sign that Syria has now announced that it wants to join the Convention, and it is one of the last countries to do so. It is crucial that the Syrian authorities now cooperate fully with the international community to reach a rapid solution to the present situation. This also applies to other issues in addition to the obligations Syria is taking on under the Chemical Weapons Convention,” commented Mr Eide.

 

As a member of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Norway will continue its efforts to persuade the small number of states that still have not joined the convention to do so as soon as possible.

 

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