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Supporting Refugee Council

January 3, 2001, 00:30 CET

In an agreement signed today, 3 January, Statoil has promised to provide the Norwegian Refugee Council with financial assistance for humanitarian projects.

Statoil will contribute NOK 1 million to humanitarian aid during 2001. The money will go to an emergency fund administered by the Norwegian Refugee Council. Running for one year initially, this agreement may well develop into a long-term collaboration.

The deal was signed at Statoil's head office in Stavanger this morning. Among those attending were the chairman of the council's board of directors, Gerhard Heiberg and secretary general Steinar Sørlie. Chief executive Olav Fjell signed on behalf of Statoil.

"We appreciate the significance of the Norwegian Refugee Council's efforts and we wish to lend support to the important work it does in helping people driven from their homes through war or natural disasters," says Mr Fjell who also emphasises the international prominence of the organisation.

There are considerable numbers of refugees in several of the areas where Statoil operates, including Angola, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Mr Fjell states that Statoil wants to strengthen its dialogue with an organisation which has extensive knowledge of, and activities in these countries.

According to the chief executive, this collaboration is a continuation of Statoil's corporate social responsibility. It is also a natural consequence of the group's commitments regarding the United Nations Global Compact principles – UN secretary general Kofi Annan's initiative for partnerships between business and industry and the UN, to combat poverty and contribute to sustainable development.

The Norwegian Refugee Council is a non-governmental humanitarian organisation which is involved in tackling refugee issues and providing international aid to refugees.