VIENTIANE, Laos—Norway has assured the Aquino administration of continuing support in its peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday.
Meeting on the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe summit in Vientiane on Monday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg congratulated President Aquino on the recent signing of the framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the DFA said.
Norway is a member of the International Monitoring Team for the GPH-MILF Peace Process and is the third country facilitator for the peace talks between Manila and the National Democratic Front, the CPP’s political wing whose leaders are on a self-imposed exile in the Netherlands.
Mr. Aquino and the Norwegian prime minister agreed to elevate the level of Philippine-Norway bilateral relations, particularly in political and economic cooperation, as well as in maritime, environment and labor areas.
The President invited Stoltenberg to expand investments into areas where the Philippines has competitive advantage—offshore and on-shore exploration, renewable energy and the environment.
Stoltenberg said that with the opening of the Arctic route, there was great potential for greater economic relations, especially in the export of Philippine agricultural products such as bananas and mangoes, which was facing challenges due to the distance between Europe and the Philippines.
The DFA said around 17,500 Filipino seafarers were employed in various Norwegian-owned and operated vessels.
Both leaders vowed to work together to address current issues concerning the certification of Filipino seafarers.
Stoltenberg also promised to explore possibilities of facilitating the entry of Filipino medical workers in Norway, which is in dire need of nurses and would welcome more highly skilled professionals.
The Philippines and Norway established diplomatic relations on March 4, 1948. In 2011, total trade between the two countries amounted to about $73 million (about P3 billion). Jerome Aning