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Norway Oils Clinton's Wheels Despite Internal Criticism

© REUTERS / Joshua Lott/FilesPresident Candidate Hillary Clinton
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Norway remains one of the biggest contributors to the Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization established and run by the Clintons. Of late, pressure has been rising at home to end Oslo's support for the foundation for ethical reasons, as it clearly may influence the outcome of the president election.

Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende, left, and former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, confer during the Cookstoves Future summit, Friday Nov. 21, 2014 in New York. - Sputnik International
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Recently, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende came under fire from the Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD) for allegedly violating the government's assistance principles as the Clinton Foundation received 30 million kroner (roughly 5 million dollars) in funding last year alone.

One of the projects by the Clinton Foundation is aimed at replacing polluting diesel generators in tropical island states with solar, wind or geothermal power generators, the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported. This contradicts the Norwegian government's guidelines for international help, as none of the 27 countries included in the Clinton Foundation's program are featured in Oslo's list of intended beneficiaries.

Norwegian Foreign Ministry rejected the criticism of the obvious departure from its own foreign policy, as communication adviser Guri Solberg explained that support through multinational organizations is not covered by the same principles as direct assistance.

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Nevertheless, MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde of the Progress Party, who is also deputy chairman of the parliament's Defense and Foreign Committee, called the cash flow to the Clinton Foundation "awkward" and urged the support to be dismantled for ethical reasons.

"Since one of the main players on the Clinton Foundation is running for presidency, I think it is only natural to discontinue our support," Christian Tybring-Gjedde told Dagbladet.

According to Tybring-Gjedde, it may be increasingly difficult to distinguish between the foundation's relief efforts and the Clinton family's political agenda. Last year, US ex-president Bill Clinton visited Norway during an international charm offensive with clear ideas about the future of the US presidency, the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported.

"Generally speaking, it is unfortunate to have economic cooperation or assistance agreements with organizations that happen to have a political agenda. This creates bonds that may be misused or misinterpreted. It is particularly unfortunate in this case as one of the aid recipients has personal political ambitions," Tybring-Gjedde said. "One can imagine what reactions financial contributions to any of the organizations run by her [Clinton's] competitor would stir," he added.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal (R), US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah speak prior to their group photo with other Gulf counetrparts during their meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, on March 31, 2012 - Sputnik International
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International support for the Clinton Foundation from foreign states is a controversial topic in the United States, with both Republican president candidate Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders questioning the funding of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Monetary gifts are one of the reasons why Trump repeatedly refers to Clinton as "crooked Hillary." Norway and Saudi Arabia have been the most lavish contributors. Since 2007, Norway has provided 584 million kroner (roughly 70 million dollars) to the Clinton foundation. In addition, Norway has pledged a further 92 million until 2019.

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation is a charitable organization established by President Bill Clinton in 1997 for promoting climate issues, health, development and women's rights across the globe. Its major contributors are Wall Street companies, wealthy individuals and foreign governments.

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