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Norway pledges cash to Ukraine if it fights graft

Norway has pledged to give financial support to the new government in Ukraine so long as it commits to put in place measures to reduce corruption.

Norway pledges cash to Ukraine if it fights graft
Børge Brende - Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix
Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende made the commitment after he arrived in Kiev on Thursday to hold talks with the country's new interim government. 
 
"When Ukraine confirms that it will implement reforms, we will specify the initiatives Norway will take to get Ukraine out of its economic morass," Brende told NRK. 
 
He also called for the new government to bring in measures enshrining the rights of Russian-speaking minorities to the east of the country. 
 
The announcement came as Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg prepared to meet Yulia Tymoshenko, the opposition politician and former Ukrainian Prime Minister who was released from jail last month. 
 
Before the meeting, Solberg said she was not backing Tymoshenko, a former Prime Minister who is viewed with suspicion by many of the protestors who forced President Yanukovich from power last month. 
 
"We do not want to pick who will head Ukraine," Solberg said, when asked if Tymoshenko would make a good partner for the West. 
 
Brende in Kiev gave his backing to the new interim government. 
 
"I see it as a good and representative government," he said. "I think it's a government we can work with." 
 
He stressed that it was Ukraine's previous leadership which had caused the present economic crisis. 
 
"It has been the mismanagement of Ukraine in recent years that has left the country almost bankrupt," he said. 
 
Despite this, he said that Norway would begin supporting the new government through international bodies even before anti-corruption measures were put in place. 
 
"We will step up financial support in the future in cooperation with the EU, the US and the International Monetary Fund," he said. 

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Norway's government is to make a new announcement on coronavirus travel restrictions today. Could it open up for the wives and girlfriends of Norwegian citizen or relax tourism rules?

Is Norway about to relax its strict coronavirus travel rules?
Erna Solberg speaking at a press conference in May. Photo: Norway PM's office
Norway's prime minister Erna Solberg, foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, minister of health Bent Høie, and business minister Iselin Nybø will all attend the press conference at 4pm, indicating that they plan to make a significant announcement. 
 
The conference will also be attended by Espen Rostrup Nakstad from the Directorate of Health, and Frode Forland, Norway's state epidemiologist at the Norwegian Institution of Public Health.
 
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“I think this is what we've been waiting for,” said one of the members of the Facebook group  “Oss med familie eller kjæreste i utlandet under Covid-19 2020” (Those of us with family or sweethearts abroad during Covid-19 2020), which has been pushing for the rules to be relaxed so they can bring their partners to Norway. 
 
 
But another member pointed out that as Norway's justice minister Monica Mæland, who is responsible for setting the rules for family reunification, is not attending, the may be disappointed. 
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