Norway to accept 8,000 refugees from Syria by end of 2017
Updated: 2015-06-11 09:13
A Syrian child holds a drawing as he waits to disembark from Belgian Navy vessel Godetia at the Augusta port, Italy, June 10, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
OSLO -- A majority in Norway's parliament agreed on Wednesday that the Nordic country would accept 8,000 refugees from Syria by the end of 2017, the NTB news agency reported.
Most of the political parties in parliament, including the Labour Party, the largest one, and the Conservative Party, which leads the current minority coalition government, have agreed on how Norway should increase its humanitarian efforts for Syria and surrounding areas.
According to the agreement, Norway would take in 500 more Syrian refugees this year, in addition to the 1,500 already planned, and accept 3,000 each year in 2016 and 2017.
Norway also plans to increase its funding for relief work in Syria's neighboring areas, with total allocations of 1.25 billion Norwegian kroner ($160 million) in 2015 and 1.5 billion kroner ($193 million) in 2016.
The agreement came as a compromise after prolonged negotiations between the right-wing minority government, which had opposed to accommodate too many more refugees, and center and left-wing parties, which wanted Norway to accept at least 10,000 people from Syria this year and next year alone.
"The proposal of the Conservatives and the government was something else, but in the face of a parliamentary majority, we could have adopted to receive a much higher number, I think this agreement was good," NTB news agency quoted Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party Erna Solberg as saying.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are currently 3.9 million registered Syrian refugees who have fled their homeland in the past four years.
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