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Cablegate: Norwegian Aid for Haiti Likely to Double to $35

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNY #0026/01 0200950
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 200950Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY OSLO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8105
INFO RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE PRIORITY 0004
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0371

C O N F I D E N T I A L OSLO 000026

SIPDIS

FOR STACY WILLIAMS, WHA/CAR, HAITI TASKFORCE ONE (MELISSA
ROUSSER), AND USAID (MAURA O'NEILL)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/20/2020
TAGS: EAID ECON PGOV PREL PREF HA NO
SUBJECT: NORWEGIAN AID FOR HAITI LIKELY TO DOUBLE TO $35
MILLION

REF: A. STATE 04854
B. STATE 04909
C. STATE 04807

Classified By: Acting Political/Economic Counselor Aldo J. Sirotic for
reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1. (U) This is an action request for WHA/CAR. Please see
paragraph 8.

2. (C) SUMMARY: Norway on January 16 increased its promise of
aid to Haiti to $17.5 million. The GON has already provided
$7 million for relief efforts. An additional $17.5 million
(bringing the total to $35 million) is likely forthcoming,
according to government officials speaking confidentially,
but may be subject to parliamentary deliberations and
approval. Virtually all of Norway's money will go to the UN
and its organizations, as Norway's priority is to strengthen
and emphasize the role of the UN, although how the money will
be parceled out to different UN organization has not yet (as
of January 20) been determined. The GON's current press
release on its aid is reproduced at the end of this cable.
End Summary.

3. (C) Poloff met simultaneously on January 19 with three
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials to deliver the
three reftel demarches on Haiti. They were: Kjersti
Rodsmoen, Acting Head of the MFA Latin America Section; Nana
Thue, Haiti Desk Officer, and Kristin Lansholt, Senior
Advisor in the Humanitarian Section.

GON OFFICIALS EMPHASIZE LONG TERM UN INVOLVEMENT
--------------------------------------------- ---

4. (C) The Humanitarian Section is leading the MFA's response
to the Haiti disaster. According to Lansholt, the GON's
intention is to strengthen the UN's capacity to respond to
this sort of crisis. While all three officials thanked and
praised the U.S. for its leadership and help in the initial
stages of the emergency, the message from the Norwegians was
that in the long term the UN must be in charge, although
according to Lansholt, "we would have hoped that the initial
UN response could have been more efficient and effective."
Ultimately, all three officials stated that they hoped that
MINUSTAH (the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) would be
significantly strengthened and able to deal with the
later-stage aftermath of the crisis brought about by the
earthquake. Because of the GON's focus on strengthening the
UN, virtually all of the contributions currently proposed and
envisioned in the future would go to UN organizations.

CURRENT AND PLANNED AID
-----------------------

5. (C) When asked about current and planned aid by the GON to
Haiti, the three officials stated that the press release
(reproduced at the end of this cable) stating that an
increase to $17.5 million contained all the information that
they currently could discuss, as the exact distribution of
the aid among UN agencies was still being determined.
However, they did add confidentially that they believed that
the total aid offered by the GON was very likely to double to
$35 million. Due to the amount this would take out of the
MFA's budget, however, authorization for the second $17.5
million tranche (again, not yet announced) would require
parliamentary authorization. The Norwegians did take the
opportunity to point out that Norway contributes 20% of the
UN Central Emergency Response Fund's (CERF's) budget, an
amount equal to approximately $57 million in 2010.

PRESS REPORTS: MINISTER COMMENTS ON UN/U.S. RELATIONSHIP;
USG REQUESTS NORWEGIAN SHIPS; NORWEGIAN NGO INVOLVEMENT
--------------------------------------------- ------------

6. (U) According to press reports, Environment and
Development Minister Erik Solheim has said that the UN must
work closely with the U.S., which has the resources required,
but while the U.S. appears to be taking responsibility, it is
unlikely to want to be saddled with that responsibility for
long. There have also been press reports that the U.S. State
Department sent a request on Sunday for Norway to offer ships
from its merchant marine for the relief effort in Haiti (see
paragraph 8 for action request on this issue). Solheim is
reportedly consulting with the Norwegian Shipowners'
association on the matter, and said that the issue of payment
has not yet been decided. The Norwegian Red Cross and Save
the Children Fund report they have raised $3.5 million for
relief work through private donations. Statoil alone donated
$530,000 on Sunday. The Norwegian Refugee Council has
assembled a 20 person experienced, French-speaking rapid
reaction force that it has offered to the UN.

PRESS RELEASE ON GON AID TO HAITI
---------------------------------

7. (U) On January 16, the GON MFA released the following
press release:

Begin text:

Norway to increase its aid to Haiti following the earthquake
Norwegian aid to the earthquake victims in Haiti is to be
increased to NOK 100 million (USD 17.5 million)

"I am deeply saddened by the extremely difficult situation in
Haiti. Although aid is flowing into the country, the needs
will continue to be great in the weeks and months ahead,"
said Minister of the Environment and International
Development Erik Solheim.

The UN has assessed the immediate requirements, and is asking
the international community to provide USD 560 million. See
the UN's flash appeal for Haiti here. (link)

"The UN has made it quite plain that Haiti needs our help.
We are therefore increasing the Norwegian contribution to aid
efforts to NOK 100 million (USD 17.5 million)," Mr. Solheim
said.

It is important to support the UN's coordinating role in
Haiti, as well as the work the UN is doing to save lives and
help survivors. Norway attaches particular importance to
helping women and children.

"Haiti will need support for its reconstruction efforts for a
long time to come. We must also remember that this
earthquake is the worst disaster ever confronted by the UN,"
Mr. Solheim commented.

Experience from the earthquake in Pakistan and the Indian
Ocean tsunami made it clear that we must continue to show
solidarity and maintain our focus on these areas after the
television cameras have gone.

"I will therefore consider how we can help to support Haiti
after the acute emergency relief phase is over," said Mr.
Solheim.

Norway has already provided NOK 40 million (USD 7 million)
for immediate relief efforts. The additional aid will, for
instance, be channeled to the World Food Program (WFP), the
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and Medecins Sans
Frontieres. Some of it will also be used to fund relief
efforts through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund
(CERF), where one fifth of the funding is provided by Norway.

End text of GON MFA press release.

8. (U) Post requests that WHA/CAR inform us of whether there
has in fact been a request from the USG to the GON for use of
the Norwegian Merchant Marine as referenced in paragraph 6.
WHITE

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