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Norwegian Foreign Minister admits PA has special support program for prisoners

Newsreader: "Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide is now involving himself in the issue of the Palestinians who are convicted of terrorism and who also receive large sums of money from the PA. Every year, Norway gives a lot of money to the PA and according to Foreign Minister Eide the [Norwegian] government was misinformed [by the PA] about this issue."

NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide is now trying to clarify the issue (exposed by PMW), which [NRK TV] Evening News has brought up - the PA's financial support of Palestinian prisoners convicted of terror. At first, the [Norwegian] Foreign Ministry denied that such a program exists, but after carefully checking with Palestine, it all looks somewhat different."

Visual during above narration: NRK reporter Tormod Strand shows PMW's documentation to the Norwegian Foreign Minister.

Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide: "I certainly have not had documented that it (the money) doesn't go to people who have been convicted of terror, and information has been given that those who are [imprisoned] for many years receive more money than those [imprisoned for] less. That is precisely why we, along with the UK, have asked [the PA] for even more detailed information in a letter we recently sent the PA."

NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "The Foreign Minister says the PA has misinformed Norway."

Barth Eide: "[As for] the insufficient information [we] first received [from the PA], I think that is very unfortunate."

NRK TV reporter Tormod Strand: "NRK [TV]'s reports (on PMW findings) made the Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs look into the matter. The suspicion is that Parliament did not receive correct information from the Foreign Ministry. Yesterday the Committee received a new letter from the Foreign Minister. The head of the Committee is still not pleased."

MP Anders Anundsen, Head of Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs (Progress Party): "I think there are some weak points in the letter. We still don't have complete clarification about when the Foreign Ministry became aware that this program (i.e., the PA's program of payments to prisoners including terrorists) was different than what they had previously informed Parliament. This means that there is reason to consider whether we should send another letter [to the Foreign Minister] after Easter."
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