The Norwegian government is still strongly committed to facilitating the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
This was emphasized by Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza during a meeting here, days after some media outlets in the Philippines reported that the government would no longer tap Norway as facilitator of the talks.
“First of all it’s very good that you were able to correct the impression that was being made in the media back in the Philippines because we are, as you know, as strongly committed as we have ever been to trying to facilitate these talks as much as we can,” Søreide told Dureza.
“I think it’s very important to convey the message to you that we have the necessary patience in this and we are not going anywhere. We want to see this through. We want to see the results and if there is anything we can do to facilitate,” she added.
Søreide said Norway is hopeful that there will be progress in the talks. “We see that what has been done so far has probably made the foundation for further talks,” she said.
Dureza, for his part, acknowledged Norway’s role as “a very valuable partner” in the talks with the NDF.
“Norway had been very patient and been with us for a long time, and I know they will still keep being there. (We are) really welcoming them, showing them that they have been a great help to us, and other mechanisms in our work for peace,” he said.
Dureza told Søreide that he had a meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in which he shared the progress of the back channel talks with the NDF with the help of the Norwegian government.
“We are confident that you (Norway) especially will be able to bring this to a logical milestone. Don’t leave us. Don’t stay away from the table,” he said.
Dureza is in Norway to attend the Oslo Forum, which is held every three years. He was invited to share his experiences in peacebuilding with other leaders who work for peace worldwide.
Norway has been facilitating formal peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the NDF since 2001. (OPAPP PR)