Norway names new envoy to PH-NDF peace process

MANILA, Philippines – Norway announced on Tuesday, October 24, that it has named Norwegian diplomat Idun Tvedt as its new special envoy to the peace process between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF).

Tvedt replaces Elisabeth Slåttum, who recently ended her 3-year term as special envoy, according to a news release from the Norwegian embassy.

"As I am sad to see Elisabeth Slåttum go, the appointment of Idun Tvedt is a great encouragement for us," Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner said. 

"She has a high standing in the Norwegian Foreign Service, and her knowledge and experience in peace and reconciliation matters are truly impressive," Førner added.

The Norwegian ambassador said the embassy "looks forward to working" with Tvedt, as well as the parties involved, "toward a peaceful solution in the conflict" between the Philippine government and the NDF. 

Tvedt is a lawyer by training who "has made a career in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the areas of human rights and peace."

The new Norwegian special envoy "is based in Oslo with her husband and two children."

Philippines welcomes Tvedt

In a statement, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the Philippine government welcomes Tvedt as Norway's special envoy to the peace process.

Dureza pointed out that Tvedt "helped in the successful Colombian peace process" that resulted in a peace agreement.

"We welcome Ambassador Idun as we express gratitude to the Royal Norwegian Government for keeping faith with us in our aspiration for a principled, just, and sustainable peace in the land," Dureza said. 

Tvedt takes her post as President Rodrigo Duterte sends mixed signals on the peace talks. 

Duterte said in July that he will no longer negotiate a peace deal with communist rebels, then in September said the door is still open to resume peace negotiations with them.  

In October, Duterte accused communists or the "Reds" of conniving with the "Yellows" from the Liberal Party to kick him out of office. –