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It is an honour to be with you today, to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela’s vision and political leadership.
I stand here as Prime Minister of Norway, but the values I express today are on behalf of all the five Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Mandela’s dedication to peace, equality and justice has been an inspiration to the world.
Nelson Mandela taught us two important lessons about sustainable peace: the importance of truth and reconciliation, and the importance of inclusion.
It is now 25 years since the Oslo Accord between Israel and the PLO was signed in Washington DC.
The end of the Cold War had created new hope for the future. We saw an opportunity for mediated resolution of armed conflicts.
This marked the beginning of Nordic engagement in conflict resolution. It has since become a cornerstone of Norwegian and Nordic foreign policy.
For over 25 years all the Nordic countries have been engaged in efforts to resolve conflicts around the world.
We have learned an important lesson from this: negotiating a peace agreement is always difficult; but implementing the agreement is even harder.
In fact, few peace agreements are fully implemented.
60% of all conflicts recur.
Since the mid-1990s, conflict recurrence has been more common than the onset of new conflicts.
This means that the best way to prevent conflict, is to ensure that peace is sustainable. Conflict resolution is not a quick fix. It requires bold leadership from all the parties involved.
In his Nobel Peace Prize lecture in Oslo, Nelson Mandela emphasised the importance of public participation in peace processes, not least the participation of women.
This principle is just as important today.
Ownership is vital to the sustainability of every peace process.
Nelson Mandela also showed us that we should not ignore the past; we should confront it with truth.
Truth and reconciliation is a key to ending conflicts and preventing further conflict.
Norway and the Nordic countries will continue to be inspired by Mandela’s ideals in our peace efforts around the world.
And we will continue to support the Secretary-General in his Sustaining Peace agenda and in the efforts to ensure inclusive peace processes.