The Norwegian Ambassador has rendered his four years of diplomatic service in the Philippines, spearheading Norway’s support for the peace processes in the country.
“Facilitating the peace processes in the Philippines is both a challenging yet a rewarding task,” shared the ambassador.
Norway is a third-party facilitator to the peace process between the Philippine Government (GRP) and the communist movement National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) since 2001.
“Although there has been a postponement of the planned formal round in Oslo this month (June 2018), I am optimistic that it will be back on track very soon, but this is of course up to the parties to decide,” said Amb. Førner.
Norway also takes part in the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao, in connection with the Bangsamoro peace process.
“I also look forward for trade opportunities coming ahead as the Philippines – EFTA Free Trade Agreement (FTA) recently entered into force,” said the Norwegian Ambassador.
“This FTA will improve bilateral economic relations and hopefully boost trade between our two nations,” he added.
Amb. Førner also shared that maritime cooperation remains the cornerstone of the bilateral ties of Norway and the Philippines.
Norway is the sixth largest shipping nation in the world with approximately 25 000 Filipino seafarers on board Norwegian vessels at any given time.
“It has been a privilege to work in the Philippines,” said Amb. Førner. “Filipinos are truly the most amazing, friendly and, charming people on the planet,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently (13 June 2018) conferred the Order of Sikatuna, Grand Cross (Datu) Gold Distinction Award to Amb. Førner in Malacanang.
President Duterte recognized the efforts of the Norwegian Ambassador to strengthen and expand the cooperation between Norway and the Philippines.
The Order of Sikatuna is one of the highest-ranking diplomatic merit given by the Philippines to individuals who have rendered exceptional and commendable services to the country.
“It is truly a great honor to receive the award from the president himself, and this is a beautiful exit for me after four fantastic years in the Philippines,” he concluded
Amb. Førner will soon move to his new post as Norway’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Vatican.