Did Norway finance the Kosovo war?

Where did all the money go?

NATO’s aerial bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999. After 78 days, it culminated in a brief and intense ground war from June 4th to 12th. Norway was already present in Bosnia through its involvement in SFOR (Stabilization Force, a NATO-led operation in Bosnia). 

Additionally, Norway was present in Macedonia, where, among other activities, Telenor was establishing a large communication network in close collaboration with Norwegian authorities.

The Norwegian military contribution in Kosovo was initially undisclosed, but according to documents from the Ministry of Defence, in the first half of 1999, there were six F-16 aircraft from the 338 Squadron (St.prp. nr. 62 98-99) with support personnel stationed at the Grazzanise base in Italy. 

We had Norwegian personnel in a unit called the Kosovo Verification Coordination Center (KVCC) in Macedonia and a withdrawal force on standby – originally planned for use in the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM). KVM was a neutral unit that monitored the provisional ceasefire from October 98. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) commissioned the unit.


What did we do in Kosovo?

“In addition, the military contributed to humanitarian efforts. Emergency aid was flown in by a Norwegian Hercules aircraft. The same aircraft was also used to evacuate refugees. The total commitment led the Ministry of Defence to submit a recommendation requesting an appropriation totaling 305 million kroner for activities in Kosovo. 

But this was just the beginning. Later the same year, the government allocated additional funds for the Kosovo engagement (Stortingsmelding nr. 2 1999. Revised national Budget or St.prp. nr. 44 1999-2000, point 6). It is a fact that during 1999, we spent a total of 1,786 million kroner on our military activities in Kosovo.

…this was just the beginning.

Breaking down the numbers, 440 million went towards training in Norway, and 290 million went towards procurement/equipment. The figures from the Ministry of Defence’s recommendation also indicate that a total of 1056 million was spent on activities within the operational area itself. 

Considering that we only had about 1300 KFOR soldiers and 24 special forces (with logistics and support – totaling 150 personnel) in Kosovo, the figure seems high. For comparison, we spent approximately 1 billion kroner in Afghanistan over the course of a year a decade later. Over nearly 30 years in Lebanon, we spent a total of 4.5 billion kroner. So, in Kosovo, the sum for one year amounted to 1.786 billion kroner.

In Kosovo, the sum for one year amounted to 1.786 billion kroner

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