The Norwegian Government would provide Norwegian krone (NOK) 60 million over a period of three years for mine action in Sri Lanka, the Royal Norwegian Embassy said on Tuesday.
Norwegian Foreign Affairs Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide said Sri Lanka has been heavily contaminated by landmines, but the country is now approaching its goal of becoming mine-free.
“This year, Norway holds the presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty, and intends to help Sri Lanka achieve this important goal. Mine clearance efforts are an important part of the reconciliation process, and mean that families who were forced to leave their homes during the war can return home safely,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
In a statement, the embassy said the funding provided by Norway will be channelled through two mine clearance organisations that have working in the country for a long time: the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the HALO Trust.
“Norway’s main focus is on humanitarian mine clearance to protect civilians. With the help of national and international organisations, Sri Lanka has carried out extensive mine clearance activities. In December 2018, 94 % of the mined areas had been cleared. Norway’s contribution will support the vital efforts the authorities are making in this area,” it said.
Meanwhile, Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen announced Norway’s contribution at a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Tuesday.