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POSTED AT 02:57 PM 06-03-2019

Norway pledges Rs 1,242 million

Mine clearance

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe greets Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen. Picture by Saman Wedage

The Norwegian Government will provide NOK 60 million (Rs.1242 million) for mine clearance activities in Sri Lanka.

Visiting Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen announced Norway’s contribution to Sri Lanka at a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday.

According to Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide, Sri Lanka is now approaching its goal of becoming a country free of landmines. The country has cleared 94 percent of its landmines by December, 2018.

Marie Eriksen Soreide said Norway is happy to extend its support to Sri Lanka in its mine clearance effort.

“The clearance of landmines means that the families that were forced to leave their homes during the war can return home safely.

It is an important part of the reconciliation process,” she said. Norway holds the Presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty this year. Sri Lanka is a State party to the treaty.

Since its adoption in Oslo in 1997, the Norwegian government has imparted NOK 325 million for mine clearance activities in 18 countries.

The country’s National Mine Action Programme together with the support of national and international organisations, donors, the Army Humanitarian De-mining Unit, HALO Trust, MAG, DASH and SHARP, has de-mined the north and eastern areas.

Norway’s funds will be channelled through mine clearance organisations, the Mines Advisory Group and HALO.