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Bosnia: Refugees May Remain In Norway

Copenhagen, 12 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Norway's new justice minister, Ann Holt, says all refugees from Bosnia may remain in Norway on a permanent basis.

At the same time, she says the government in Oslo will push on with plans for voluntary repatriation and will encourage Bosnians to return to their homeland by giving them financial assistance to resettle.

The decision to grant all Bosnians permanent residence status in Norway was announced yesterday by Holt, who had been sharply critical of the previous government's refugee policy.

There are currently about 13,000 Bosnian refugees in Norway, the majority of whom went there to seek protection from the Balkan war in 1992 and 1993.

Until now, most of the refugees were given a so-called collective but temporary status.