Honorable Borge Brende, Foreign Minister, Special Envoy Elisabeth Slattum to the Philippine Peace Process and her facilitation team, Honorable Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Former, Honorable Jesus G. Dureza, GRP Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process, Sec Silvestre H. Bello, Chairperson of the GRP Negotiating Panel and Panel Members and the GRP Delegation, Compatriots and Friends,

At the end of a very fruitful five day resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, we reiterate our most heartfelt appreciation to our Norwegian hosts for their support, hospitality and solidarity. We are honored by the presence of the Hon. Foreign Minister at the Opening on August 22, his joining us now for the signing of our Joint Statement and conversing with us and expressing his full support for the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. We also express our thanks to State Secretary Tore Hattrem, and to Special Envoy Elisabeth and the entire facilitation team.

We cannot achieve this successful and very significant step forward in the peace negotiations without the strong commitment of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the NDFP national leadership, the spirit of goodwill and friendliness of our counterparts: the GRP Negotiating Panel, its Chairperson, Silvestre H. Bello III, the Panel Members, and the other members of their delegation.

This very important step could not have been possible as well, if it were not for the commitment and firm support of the NDFP national leadership to the peace negotiations, and the able assistance of the newly-released NDFP consultants who are very knowledgeable about the situation in the field.

We take this occasion to express our gratitude to our compatriots here in Norway for their warm and hearty welcome.

As I stated earlier, this resumption of formal talks, has had the unique privilege of having our newly released NDFP consultants.

We also express our gratitude to our solidarity friends among the Norwegian people for their long-standing solidarity and their warm welcome every time we come to Norway.

To the political prisoners, we deeply value your unflinching stand for the people. We rely on your invaluabe support. We are resolutely committed to join you and many human rights organizations and peace advocates in pressing for your freedom as a matter of justice.

To the Filipino people who aspire for a just and lasting peace, based on addressing the roots of the armed conflict, through genuine land reform, national industrialization and other fundamental social, economic, and political reforms, we shall work and struggle together, to achieve a just and lasting peace.

Thank you very much! #