Norway freezes aid to Myanmar after coup

Protesters wearing traditional Bagan outfits hold signs as they take part in a demonstration against the Myanmar military coup in Bagan, a Unesco World Heritage site, on February 11, 2021. — AFP pic
Protesters wearing traditional Bagan outfits hold signs as they take part in a demonstration against the Myanmar military coup in Bagan, a Unesco World Heritage site, on February 11, 2021. — AFP pic

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OSLO, Feb 18 — Norway said today it was freezing its bilateral aid to Myanmar following the country’s military coup earlier this month.

The wealthy Nordic country had budgeted 66.5 million kroner (RM31.7 million) for 2021 to help boost knowhow at Myanmar’s public institutions in areas including renewable energy, the environment and protection of the oceans.

“The military coup on February 1 changed the conditions for the Norwegian involvement in Myanmar and is the reason for Norway freezing its state-to-state programmes for professional cooperation between Norwegian and Myanmar public institutions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Norway’s aid to the Myanmar people, distributed through UN agencies and charities, is not affected by the decision and will continue, the ministry added.

The sums frozen concern primarily the payment of Norwegian experts involved in the cooperation programmes, and only to a smaller extent payments made to Myanmar’s institutions.

Alleging widespread voter fraud in November elections won by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, Myanmar’s military ousted her in a coup on February 1 and placed her under house arrest.

The coup has sparked a public uprising, to which the military has responded with a harsh crackdown. — AFP

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