Friday, January 28

The Office of the Auditor General will investigate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Will check how billions of aid kroner were spent in the Syrian war

The humanitarian effort in and around Syria is the largest Norway has ever carried out. The use of money is now subject to the Office of the Auditor General’s critical eye.

In 2019, the then Prime Minister Erna Solberg visited Syrian refugees in Jordan. The Office of the Auditor General will now see how Norwegian development assistance money has been used.

Norway has contributed more than NOK 15 billion during the ten years of the war in Syria.

The money has been channeled through the UN, the Red Cross and other Norwegian humanitarian organizations. The Office of the Auditor General recently decided to investigate the use of money, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs Aftenposten.

– The review initiated by the Office of the Auditor General has just begun. It is unclear when the work will be completed and the Storting will be informed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs writes in a statement to Aftenposten.

Money for vital goods and medicines

The purpose of the development assistance funds has, among other things, been to provide protection and education. Several projects have been launched to give the Syrian population and Syrian refugees in neighboring countries access to health services, water and sanitation and food, says press spokesperson Guri Solberg at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Protection of and education for women has also been a high priority, she emphasizes.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Norway, together with Ireland, is the penman for the humanitarian Syria resolution. The resolution is crucial for the UN to be able to transport vital goods such as tents, food and medicine across the border into Syria, says Solberg.

Looking forward to having the audit visit

Most of Norway’s humanitarian contributions have been channeled through the UN, the Red Cross movement and Norwegian humanitarian organizations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states.

– The humanitarian needs in Syria and neighboring countries are enormous. We have contributed more than NOK 15 billion during the ten years that the war has lasted. This is the largest humanitarian effort Norway has ever made.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes it as positive that the Office of the Auditor General is following up Norway’s involvement in Syria. The review will be useful for how the ministry will organize its assistance for the future, they state.

– We look forward to working closely with the Office of the Auditor General on this review, as we always do, says Solberg.

The Office of the Auditor General is normally reluctant to comment on ongoing investigations. However, they confirm that they will investigate the spending in Syria.

– Yes, it is true that we will investigate Norwegian aid to the Syrian crisis, says responsible chief of operations Aleksander Åsheim in the Office of the Auditor General to Aftenposten. He elaborates:

– We are one in the early stages, and the Office of the Auditor General’s board will decide on facilities in the new year. After the college has dealt with the case, we can probably say something more about what we are going to look at and the time frame. More than that we can not say now.

Reference-www.aftenposten.no

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