Introductory notes of Ambassador Ture Lundh during the start of GPH-NDF formal talks in Oslo, Norway


Secretary Deles, State Secretary Eide, Honorouble Panel Chairpersons Alexander Padilla and Luis Jalandoni, members of the negotiating panels, distinguished colleagues, friends of the peace process: Good morning and welcome! And really: My welcome is as warm, as our country is cold.

On behalf of the Third Party Facilitation Team, it is such a pleasure for me to see that you made it. That you really showed up here again at Holmen Fjordhotell only weeks after having concluded a successful round of informal talks; but also experiencing a very, very cold winter up here north. It proves you have courage, physical as well as political. You are back. And you are here for a round of formal negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – for the first time since 2004. Congratulations.

This morning – I’d first like to say a few introductory words. Then, I’d like to confirm the presence and composition of our facilitation team. Then I’ll give the floor to our State Secretary, Mr Espen Barth Eide. After the State Secretary we will have exchange of credentials and short introductions of the panels. I will then give the floor to the Special Adviser to the President, Secretary Deles and then panel chairperson Jalandoni. We want to conclude this opening session by 11 o’clock, including photo options the last 10 minutes.

Now, I’ve already congratulated you on the resumption of formals. And both parties deserve all the credit they can get, for showing courage and willingness to meet face to face. But celebrate we did already in January. Now, we are here to work, work hard, and really begin to talk about the root causes of the conflict, the core issues of the peace agenda; social, economic, political, and institutional reforms.

I hope that during the next few days – we will be able to build further on the trust developed in January, and over the last few weeks and months, and further strengthen and enhance a positive, sustainable direction of the peace process.

You seem to be on the right track. Bud you are facing tough challenges.

It is with humility that we – as a foreign nation – engage in the internal affairs of the Philippines. And I’ve told you before, but for us it is important so I will tell you again: that as a Third Party Facilitator we are not here to impose conditions. We are here to help you provide solutions, and make conditions more conducive to the talks. We are neutral to the parties and to your positions. But we do provide advice, opinions, suggestions to the two negotiating panels, subject to the inherent prerogative of you, the two parties to maintain mutual control of the process. We will not endeavour to dictate the agenda or proceedings, or the structures of the peace process. And I hope you continue to consider us a true friend, ready, prepared and willing – as we are – to host and facilitate these talks in the interest of peace in your country, in the Philippines.

Conflict resolution is a journey, a process – but the conflict already has a long enough history. So yes, we are in for the long run, patient and committed. But your people deserves a just and lasting peace – sooner rather than later – after more than four decades of conflict and violence.

So let’s move forward. There has been such a positive development over the last few months, there’s really a momentum building up, and we just finished a successful round of informal talks, a new ceasefire has been unilaterally declared by both parties, and here we are to resume formal negotiations to address substantial issues on the peace agenda – for the first time since 2004.

Well, I am proud to be part of the Third Party Facilitation Team – always at your service. I introduced them rather extensively in January, so please allow me now to just confirmation that we are still here.

Our team then: Deputy Director General Tomas Stangeland, His Excellency Ambassador Knut Solem, Senior Adviser Aina Holm, Adviser Ida Marstein, Senior Adviser Fredrik Steen, and Senior Advisor Lisa Golden.

Now, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our State Secretary, Mr. Espen Barth Eide. Please, the floor is yours.#

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