FROM BEAUTIFUL NORWAY
The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ankara
Norwegian Press release, published 08.01.2009
Norway calls for the protection of humanitarian assistance and aid workers in Gaza
There have been alarming reports from Gaza of ambulances and convoys carrying humanitarian relief supplies being impeded, and personnel from humanitarian organisations being killed as a result of the fighting. Several organisations have chosen to suspend their efforts in Gaza because the risk involved is too great.
“I deeply deplore the violence against humanitarian aid workers and humanitarian transport in Gaza,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. “These incidents are tragic for those directly affected and make it even more difficult to reach people with the help they so sorely need and are entitled to.”
The Foreign Minister recently raised these issues in the UN Security Council.
“The parties have a clear responsibility under international law to protect civilians and facilitate the provision of humanitarian and medical assistance. I expressed this most recently to the Israeli Government this evening,” said Mr Støre.
Norwegian Press release, published 03.01.2009
Israel must withdraw its troops from Gaza
“The Israeli ground offensive in Gaza constitutes a dramatic escalation of the conflict. Norway strongly condemns any form of warfare that causes severe civilian suffering, and calls on Israel to withdraw its forces immediately,” Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.
“The protracted bombing of the densely populated Gaza Strip, now followed by a full military ground operation, is hitting a civilian population that is unable to defend itself and unable to flee. Gaza is the world’s most densely populated area, and the effects of a ground invasion on a long-suffering civilian population that has endured a strict closure regime for many years, and now many days of military attacks, will be extremely grave,” Mr Støre added.
“Hamas, for its part, must stop its rocket attacks against Israel immediately. The war that is now unfolding has a single victim: the civilian population on both sides,” the Foreign Minister said.
“There is no military solution to this conflict. Pressure must be put on the parties to enter into a new ceasefire. The Security Council and regional actors must unite behind an unambiguous call to halt the military hostilities and a plan for achieving lasting peace,” Mr Støre said.
Norwegian Press release, published 30.12.2008
Norway provides humanitarian relief to Gaza
The Government decided today to provide NOK 30 million in immediate humanitarian relief in connection with the assaults in Gaza. “We are extremely concerned about the precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.Many innocent civilians are suffering as a result of the violence in Gaza. The ForeignMinister pointed out how crucial it is to ensure that humanitarian assistance reachesthose who need it in Gaza.
“We presume that Israel will provide the necessary access for humanitarian aid. There is an acute need for medical and surgical equipment at the hospitals in Gaza.
We join in a broad international appeal to Israel to help to ensure that humanitarian relief supplies reach those in need,” said Mr Støre.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now allocating funds to several humanitarianorganisations providing emergency medical aid and assistance to the wounded andinjured in Gaza, and is giving priority to those that are able to ensure the rapid andeffective delivery of emergency relief. The funds are being channelled primarilythrough the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Relief and Works Agency forPalestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the International Red Cross (ICRC) and the Norwegian Aid Committee (NORWAC).
“Norway is following the situation closely and we are ready to provide additionalhumanitarian funds,” said the Foreign Minister.
During the past few days the Foreign Minister has been in contact with several of hiscolleagues in the region, with the Palestinian Authority, and with the French EUPresidency.
“I have conveyed Norway’s view that the fighting must stop, a new ceasefire must be put in place, and border crossings must be opened to provide access for humanitarian relief supplies,” said Mr Støre. “Norway is working for and supporting diplomatic initiatives designed for this purpose, such as the efforts being made by Egypt and initiatives taken by the EU.”
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