Norway urges sustained focus on peace process in the Philippines
‘I am saddened by the recent loss of lives in Mamasapano in the Philippines and would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. It is now more important than ever to put every effort into the peace process,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
On 25 January, a clash between government security forces and Moro guerrillas in Mamasapano, on the island of Mindanao, claimed the lives of more than 50 people, most of them policemen. Since then President Benigno S. Aquino III and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Ebrahim Murad have both reaffirmed their commitment to the peace process.
‘I commend the parties on their unyielding commitment to the peace process. The alternative to peace is continued conflict. Armed conflict not only takes lives; it also creates and intensifies poverty. Armed conflict is a serious threat to development and has negative consequences far beyond the actual battlefield. A lasting settlement in Mindanao would benefit the entire population of the Philippines,’ said Mr Brende.
Norway is part of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) watching over the ceasefire in Mindanao and is furthermore involved in the process of decommissioning firearms and fighters. Norway is also the third-party facilitator of peace talks between the Philippine Government and the communist movement, NDFP.
‘Norway will continue to support all efforts towards peace in the Philippines. I look forward to welcoming Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario in Oslo on 11–12 February,’ Foreign Minister Brende said.