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Cablegate: Norwegians Reluctant to Cut Aid for Nicaragua

VZCZCXYZ0003
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNY #0688 3581322
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231322Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7250

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000688

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CEN ALBERT KRAAIMOORE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2018
TAGS: EAID PGOV PREL NU NO
SUBJECT: NORWEGIANS RELUCTANT TO CUT AID FOR NICARAGUA

REF: STATE 132044

Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor George Noll for reasons 1.4(b
) and (d)

1. (C) Poloff met with Kjersti Rodsmoen, head of the Latin
America section of the MFA, who expressed official concern
over developments in Nicaragua but little interest in
actually reducing Norway's budget support. At the same time,
Rodsmoen said that Norway would limit its 2009 budget support
to 2008's figure of 20 million kroner (approx $3.2 million)
rather than the 25 million kroner it had pledged for 2009 at
a budget support group meeting this fall. She said she hoped
this would send the proper signal to the Nicaraguan regime.
Rodsmoen and poloff had discussed on a previous demarche how
Norway's ambassador to Nicaragua upbraided the Nicaraguan
foreign minister in a private meeting shortly after the
election.

2. (SBU) The Nicaraguan elections have generated interest in
parliament, and during criticism by the center-right parties
in early December of Norway's aid policy, Development
Minister Erik Solheim had the following to say:

"I wouldn't say that we "threaten to hold back budget
support." I would rather say that Norwegian budget support
demands from countries that receive budget support that
certain reasonable conditions must be met, such that the
support can actually function. That means that there is a
credible opposition, there is a functioning parliament, and
that there are review systems. I am unsettled by the
developments in Nicaragua, I'm not trying to downplay that.
We will continue to follow those developments, and over the
next year we may come to new conclusions."

3. (C) Comment: Post doubts that Norway will significantly
cut its budget support to Nicaragua absent additional human
rights or other violations over the coming months, given the
limited steps already taken, and given that parliamentary
attention to this issue will likely fade.
JOHNSON

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