Norway protests smear by UN oil report

Norway protests smear by UN oil report
The United Nations in New York. File photo: Jeffrey Zeldman/Flikr
The Foreign Ministry has sent a letter of complaint to the UN Security Council, after a report stated that Norwegian aid to Somalia could be coverage for oil exploration in the conflict-torn east African nation.

The Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper reported on Wednesday that the security council's special report on Somalia and Eritrea singled out Norwegian aid to Somalia, additionally stating that western oil companies active in the country could worsen the conflict there. 

The foreign ministry has now sent a letter addressing Norway's "serious concern" regarding comments made in the report. 

The report said that Norway had encouraged Somalia to create a special economic zone off the coast, but that such a demarcation would hinge on resolving a maritime border conflict with neighbouring Kenya. The Norwegian news agency NTB noted on Wednesday, however, that state-owned oil company Statoil said recently that it was not interested in exploration and extraction in the region before the conflict was resolved. 

"Let me assure you that these claims are totally baseless and quite simply inaccurate," Norwegian UN delegation head Knut Langeland wrote in the four-page letter addressed to Rosemary DiCarlo, the president of the security council.

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