Ambassador of Norway to the Philippines Erik Førner has announced Norway’s full commitment with a new initiative to support efforts and keep the path of peace in the Philippines on track through a decommissioning process.
‘I commend the efforts of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to undertake the decommissioning process, which has an important component of the whole normalization process as laid out in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,’ said Ambassador Erik Førner.
The Norwegian government plays and active role contributing to the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants through the following:
- Deployment of Norway’s expert as vice-chair for the establishment of the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) in the person of retired Brigadier General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen. He was previously involved in peacekeeping operations in Barbados, Central Sudan, El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nigeria, and Yugoslavia;
- Deployment of additional experts in the IDB Headquarters; and
- Deployment of additional experts in the IDB-verification and monitoring assistance teams (VMAT) that will take charge of the security of the assembly and processing areas and/or the arms storage area for the decommissioning process.
‘Lasting peace is fundamental in bringing development and stability in Mindanao, for the benefit of the entire population of the Philippines. The alternative to peace is continued conflict. Armed conflicts not only take lives; but also create and intensify poverty. It is our wish that the Philippines overcomes the Mamasapano tragedy and unite to support the peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in Mindanao,’ continued the Ambassador.
Norway has for several years been a part of the International Monitoring Team supervising the ceasefire in Mindanao. It is also the third-party facilitator of peace talks between the Philippine Government and the communist movement.