Norway writes off $20m loan

January 24, 2006

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OSLO, Jan 23: Norway agreed to cancel $20 million of Pakistan’s debts on Monday to help reconstruction after the Oct 8 quake in a deal announced as President Gen Pervez Musharraf arrived in Oslo for a two-day visit.

Norway would cancel $20 million of Pakistan’s $45 million debt to Oslo in a swap deal under which Pakistan would spend a corresponding amount in rupees on reconstruction after the earthquake, the Foreign Ministry said in statement.

On arrival at Oslo airport from Dubai, President Musharraf expressed ‘extreme gratitude’ for Norway’s financial and medical aid after the earthquake.

He will meet Norwegian leaders and give a speech at the Nobel Institute on Tuesday before leaving for Switzerland.

Briefly talking to journalists after his arrival at the Gardermoen international airport, the president said his visit aimed at enhancing bilateral relations with Norway, specially in trade and economic field, and exchanging views on issues of international concern.

The president’s visit follows a trip by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to Pakistan on December 5-7, the first ever high-level visit by either side.

President Musharraf’s visit would provide him with an opportunity to highlight the importance of boosting ties between Pakistan and Norway.

On Tuesday, President Musharraf will call on the King Harald V and hold talks with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on bilateral and international issues.

In his meetings with the Norwegian leadership, President Musharraf will express Pakistan’s gratitude for their country’s swift response to October 8 decimating earthquake.—Agencies