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Government held meetings on Norwegian children in Syria

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen SøreideForeign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide.Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

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Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide has sought advice from the government if Norway should bring home children of Norwegian citizens who joined IS in Syria.

This week, Ine Eriksen Søreide of Høyre (H) has held personal meetings with the party groups of Høyre, Fremskrittsparti,Venstre, and Kristelig Folkeparti to get input on how the government should relate to the case according to VG newspaper.

Among other things, they investigated the possibility of bringing the children home to Norway, with humanitarian organizations as intermediaries, or to increase humanitarian assistance to the camps to bring in medicines and health care.

Four Norwegian women and a total of six children are interned in the camp, Al-Hol, in Syria.

Worried about the kids

To NRK news, Søreide confirmed that the government had discussed the matter.

‘’It is quite common for a government to consult and discuss big and difficult issues in its parliamentary groups. We have, of course, also done this in this case’’ said Søreide to NRK.

She said they are working to get an overview of the situation.

‘’It is, as the Prime Minister has said, not appropriate to bring home foreign fighters or the children as the situation is now.

But we are very worried about the children’s situation. They experience things they should not experience’’ said Søreide.

She said Norway is in contact with twelve other European countries on the case, in addition to humanitarian organizations and relief organizations.

‘’We also need to get to know more about the conditions in the camps, and to assess whether it is something we can assist with if it becomes relevant at any time’’ said the Foreign Minister.

Raja believes in solution

Venstre’s Abid Q. Raja is happy that Søreide made contact concerning the case.

‘’It is very good that the Foreign Minister came to our group meeting to get input. It is reassuring that the government is exploring all options for how to best help these children’’ said Raja to VG newspaper.

In a survey for Dagbladet newspaper, 63% of the respondents answered that Norway should work actively to bring home the children.

Raja believes it will become possible for the government to agree to bring home the children, despite opposition from Solberg and Frp leader Siv Jensen.

“I have great hope and expectation that the government, like Venstre, are doing what they can to help these children. It is positive that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking to find solutions. I understand the practical challenges, but it is important to show political will’’ Raja said.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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