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Norway to grant Georgia $34 mln in aid

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - Norway will donate 235 million kroner ($34 mln) to Georgia to help rebuild the country following its armed conflict with Russia, Norway's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

"One of the main purposes of the aid is for work with refugees. Norway also intends to assist in disabling explosive devices that were left unexploded after the armed conflict in August," Jonas Gahr Store was quoted as saying in a ministry press release.

During a meeting of international donors on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss aid for Georgia, the diplomat said Norway would also help in reforming Georgia's judiciary and work to improve the country's energy sector, in particular hydro power.

According to a joint assessment from the World Bank and the United Nations, Georgia will need around $3.4 billion in foreign donations over the next three years to support its economy, rebuild damaged infrastructure and help refugees who lost their homes during the conflict.

The European Commission earlier pledged up to 500 million euros ($662.3 million) for the country up to 2010, with the U.S. offering around $1 billion to rebuild Georgia. The EU also invited individual donor countries to contribute funds.

Russia, which was condemned by most Western powers for its "disproportionate" response to Georgia's August attack on South Ossetia, was not invited to the conference, due to its decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another Georgian breakaway region, as independent states on August 26.

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