MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte has assured Norway that the Philippines remains committed to peace despite his refusal to resume peace talks with communist rebels, MalacaAang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after Duterte on Thursday (February 15) met with Idun Tvedt, Norwegian special envoy to the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Tvedt made a courtesy call at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City.
Roque said that during the more than an hour meeting, Duterte renewed his commitment to achieve just and lasting peace in the country, especially in Mindanao.
He said Duterte welcomed Norway's expression of commitment and stressed that the goal of peace must be achieved with due regard for the national interest of the Philippines.
The spokesperson also described the discussion between Duterte and Tvedt as warm and open.
On the other hand, Tvedt reiterated the commitment of the Norwegian Government to assist the Philippines in its peace process with communist rebels.
Tvedt described the courtesy call as "productive."
Tvedt was accompanied by Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik FA�rner, Deputy Chief of Mission Kristian Netland and Senior Advisor William Hovland.
On the Philippine side, in attendance were Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and Department of Foreign Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Robert Ferrer.
Strengthened PH-Palau ties
Aside from meeting the Norwegian special envoy, Duterte, also met Palau President Tommy Remesengau in Davao City on Thursday.
Roque said both sides reaffirmed the importance of the friendship between the Philippines and Palau, citing cultural ties, similar histories and shared challenges.
Moreover, both sides renewed the commitment to enhance and expand cooperation, particularly in education, maritime security and delimitation, agriculture and aquaculture, counternarcotics, connectivity, medical tourism and trade and investments.
Duterte, meanwhile, vowed to strengthen the Philippines relationship with Palau, noting that the bond between the two countries remains good and solid.
He also praised the people of Palau and its government for being good-natured and for having a peaceful nation.
Source: Philippine News Agency