Norway remains fully committed to support efforts and keep the path of peace in the Philippines on track. I commend the efforts of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to undertake the decommissioning process. The decommissioning is an important component of the whole normalization process as laid out in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,’ said Ambassador of Norway to the Philippines Erik Førner.
The Norwegian government takes active role to contribute to the decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants through the following:
a) 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;
b) Deployment of additional experts in the IDB Headquarters; and
c) 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 takes lives; it also creates and intensifies 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,’ said Ambassador Førner.
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.