Sweden Mulls Halting Financial Aid To RP

Sweden has not reached a decision yet on whether or not to continue providing financial assistance to the Philippines after it closes down its embassy in Manila on May 30.
According to Fredrik Agerhem, second secretary of the Swedish Embassy, Stockholm is still discussing the issue of continuing its financial assistance to the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
“We have not taken in a final decision yet. It is being discussed in Stockholm”, Agerhem said Thursday.
He however added that Swedish assistance will continue in Cambodia and Laos because these countries “needed our help more and are less developed compared to the Philippines.”
Sweden is also mulling on withdrawing the World Bank-administered Mindanao Trust Fund for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of strife-torn areas in the region.
The two-phase Mindanao Trust Fund focuses on the capacity building and implementation of reconstruction and development projects in conflict-affected areas while the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is in progress.
The Swedish government had said that the decision to close the embassy is part of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ continuous review of its organization abroad and assessment of its status in relation to changes in the surrounding world and changing requirements for monitoring and service.
After the closure, applications for visas will be handled by another Schengen Embassy in Manila.
The embassy said an honorary consulate will be established to provide basic consular support to Swedish citizens.

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