Norway doubles support to the Sahrawi people
The conflict in Western Sahara, which has been ongoing since the 1960s, has been one of the “forgotten conflicts”. Norway is now doubling its support to the Sahrawi people.
“The Norwegian support is mainly intended to alleviate the very precarious humanitarian situation in the refugee camps,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
“Norway supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to find a political solution to the conflict that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in accordance with international law and UN resolutions. We supports the Secretary-General in his appeal to the parties to engage in direct negotiations without preconditions. The international community must now join together to put pressure on the parties to achieve a lasting political solution to the conflict as soon as possible,” the Foreign Minister underlined.
“The Government will make NOK 11.9 million available in 2009 for various humanitarian measures to improve the situation of the Sahrawi people. This is more than twice last year’s allocation,” Mr Støre added.
The Norwegian funding will mainly be channelled through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Land Mine Action and Norwegian Church Aid. The support is primarily intended to help Sahrawi families who are split between Western Sahara and refugee camps in Algeria to maintain contact, to improve the nutritional situation in the refugee camps and clear mines and other unexploded ordnance in Western Sahara.