Climate change and Afghanistan topics at Obama – Stoltenberg meeting

The need for a strong political climate agreement in Copenhagen and the military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan were important topics in today’s  talks in Oslo between Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and US President Barack Obama. Stoltenberg announced that Norway will increase its financial contribution to the Afghan National Army and Police to a total of USD 110 million for the period 2010 to 2014.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg and President Obama. Photo: Per Thrana. See more photos at Flickr

“We have today discussed how to address the most pressing challenge of our time – climate change. US leadership is crucial if we are to succeed in our efforts. I look forward to working with President Obama and his administration during the next few days in Copenhagen, and in the months that follow, so that we can achieve an ambitious and legally binding climate agreement,” said Stoltenberg.

Stoltenberg underscored that developed countries must provide more funding for climate actions in developing countries. He also briefed the President on a Norwegian-Mexican initiative on financing, which is a key issue in Copenhagen. The cooperation is aimed at creating a system which will provide both short and long term financing for climate efforts in developing countries.

Stoltenberg and Obama agreed that Norway and the US will work together to ensure that efforts to reduce emissions from tropical forests will be an important element of a deal in Copenhagen. Norway’s cooperation with Brazil in the Amazon has already resulted in substantial emission cuts.

Stoltenberg welcomed the stronger and broader US involvement aimed at ensuring development and stability in Afghanistan, in particular the increased focus on protection of the civilian population and on Afghan capacity building

“Norway is committed to continuing our military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan. If we are to achieve our common objective there, it is essential that we support the Afghan security forces. We must enable Afghans to take responsibility for their own security,” said Prime Minister Stoltenberg.

The increased Norwegian contribution totalling USD 110 million to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund and the Afghan National Police, will be allocated with USD 60 million for the Army and USD 50 million for training the Police. Norway already contributes USD 120 million annually to civilian assistance in Afghanistan. Currently, Norway has around 500 troops in Afghanistan.

In their talks Stoltenberg and Obama also discussed cooperation in the High North, the common interest in achieving the UN Millennium Goals and the importance of a renewed effort for the peace process in the Middle East.


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