Norway backs Philippines peace initiatives

Norway continue its support for the Philippines peace initiatives, said Jens Stoltenberg  Monday when he met with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III at the sidelines of the  ASEM summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Stoltenberg congratulated Aquino on the recent signing of the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and assured him of Norway’s continued assistance to the peace processes.

Norway is a member of the International Monitoring Team for the GPH-MILF Peace Process. It is the third country facilitator for the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

It was the second meeting of the two leaders since President Aquino’s assumption into office in 2010. They agreed to elevate the level of Philippine-Norway bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of political and economic cooperation as well as in maritime, environment and labor areas.

President Aquino invited Norway to expand their current investments from the Sovereign Fund into areas where the Philippines has competitive advantage – offshore and on-shore exploration, renewable energy and the environment.

Stoltenberg said that with the opening of the Arctic route, there is great potential for greater economic relations, especially in the export of Philippine agricultural products such as bananas and mangoes, which is currently facing challenges due to the distance of Europe from the Philippines.

Both leaders vowed to work together to address current issues concerning the certification of Filipino seafarers.

Stoltenberg also committed to exploring possibilities of facilitating the entry of Filipino medical workers.  He admitted that Norway is in dire need of nurses and that they would welcome more highly-skilled professionals in Norway.

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