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After more than two decades of demining operations held throughout the country, a breath of hope has been shed into the lives of the people of Mozambique: Mozambique is now a land mine free country.
The announcement was made last week by the Mozambican Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oldemiro Baloi, during the closing ceremony of the mine clearance program and witnessed by representatives of the United Nations, of the main humanitarian demining agencies, and of the donors who had funded mine clearance.
The Government decided today to enter into a cooperation agreement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The agreement will form the basis for support to a series of regional initiatives in southern Africa which Sweden is providing through SADC. The aim is to strengthen SADC as a regional actor.
"Many of Africa's problems require cross-border cooperation.
Today the Government took the decision to authorise Sida to prepare budget support for ten countries - Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique, Nacaragua, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia - and to disburse previously approved budget support to Malawi. The decision was made under the guidelines for cooperation strategies recently adopted by the Government, which entail giving Sida responsibility for handling Swedish budget support to poor countries.
"This budget support will give the recipient countries a better chance to control their own development.
Southern Africa is facing one of the most serious food crises for ten years. Twelve million people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia are risking starvation. The situation could lead to a catastrophe that lasts until the spring of 2003.
The Government today decided to bring forward balance of payments support to Mozambique in the total amount of SEK 100 million - SEK 50 million in budget support and SEK 50 million in debt relief.
Minister for International Development Cooperation Maj-Inger Klingvall decided today that SEK 10 million will be paid immediately to the World Food Programme (WFP) to meet the acute needs of the victims in Mozambique for food supplies.