Historical archive

Norway’s Role in Peace and Conflict Resolution

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- The peace effort must be owned and driven by the Somalis themselves. Above all, the Somali leaders must let national interests lead the way, State Secretary Johansen said at a meeting organized by Somali Peace Initiative Group in Norway. (23.05.06)

State Secretary Raymond Johansen

Norway’s Role in Peace and Conflict Resolution

2nd Annual Somali Peace Conference: Good Governance and Rule of Law, - organized by Somali Peace Initiative Group in Norway, Red Cross Conference Centre, Oslo, Norway, 22 May 2006

Norway’s efforts to promote peace, reconciliation and development reflect the value we place on human solidarity and our respect for the value of each human being.

This foundation of what might be called core values is central to our efforts in different parts of the world. As an impartial actor, Norway can help to put good intentions into practice.

We can play a constructive, supporting role and enable progress that benefits the people.

At the same time, peace policy has become a part of security policy. By helping others, we can also help ourselves, as members of a gloabalized world.

Norwegian peace policy is therefore more than involvement in a series of peace processes.

Our involvement in such processes and our efforts in the UN and development assistance are gradually being fused with security policy — security policy for the 21st century — security policy for the age of globalisation.

Globalisation is making the world a better place. Many people are being lifted out of poverty, but far too many are being left behind.

In the last fifteen years, the world has suffered one hundred conflicts, of which about thirty are still ‘active’ today. Nearly all of them are internal. Due to globalisation we are affected by these conflicts.

Many of today’s greatest challenges – terrorism, international crime, environmental degradation, the spread of infectious diseases and fear – originate in conflict areas far away.

However, there is really no ‘far away’ anymore: Local conflicts are also a global problem, a global challenge. The situation in Somalia is no exception and deserves our most serious follow-up and support.

Norwegian foreign policy is pursued along three main tracks:

Firstly, we are seeking to strengthen the international legal order, and we will cooperate with others on finding joint solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.

Secondly, we know where we are and where we need to go. We will further develop our partnerships with our close friends and allies.

Thirdly, we will focus on areas in which Norway can contribute to peace, reconciliation and development. We will participate actively in the UN, and are willing to provide assistance and support for development. We will seek out opportunities where we can make a difference.

My main point is that Norwegian peace policy is guided by all of these considerations. Much of what Norway does on its own is possible only because of our involvement in international cooperation, our partnerships, and our alliances.)

In several conflict areas Norway’s role has been to prepare for, complement or support the efforts of the UN. Our efforts under the auspices of the UN give certain credibility. Our peace and reconciliation efforts are rooted in our commitment to the UN, NATO and European cooperation.

Although we have had high-profile roles in some conflicts, we generally cooperate with others, whether in the UN or in other forums. Norwegian peace building is based on teamwork.

Of course, there are many conflicts in which the UN cannot play, or is not given a role to play. It is particularly in these situations that a country with Norway’s resources, political will, and vision can make a difference.

Many consider the thrust of Norwegian peace policy to be our participation in peace and reconciliation processes.

Our involvement in Sri Lanka, Sudan and the Middle East is well known. Many are also aware of the role we are playing in the Philippines and Haiti, and — after a hiatus of several years — we are again involved as facilitators in a process involving the ELM and the Government of Colombia.

Let me now turn to Norway’s policy concerning Somalia.

The Somali people have suffered for so long! For much too long!

The plight of the people must come to an end!

To this end, the country needs an effective parliament and government for the people!

The drought this year and recent battles in Mogadishu have not made the situation any easier.

If anything, the desperate needs of so many have been amplified.

The international community must help!

From the Norwegian side we are committed!

We provide humanitarian assistance. A total of more than NOK 100 million so far this year (in addition to GAP contributions and peace and reconciliation initiatives) - channelled through the United Nations and NGOs.

And we will continue to provide our support to alleviate the difficult humanitarian situation. We will also continue to encourage other countries to follow suit.

But, as you are well aware, in Somalia even humanitarian help can be difficult to deliver.

- Because of the shaky security situation, because of the lack of political progress and compromizes. That makes it very hard to reach out to the people in real need.

Lasting and fundamental improvements to the situation are much needed!

For this to happen, real political will of the Somali leaders are needed!

The anarchy in Somalia cannot be allowed to continue forever!

At the same time, lasting peace can not be imposed from the outside. The peace effort must be owned and driven by the Somalis themselves. Above all, the Somali leaders must let national interests lead the way.

The ongoing process – the Transitional Federal Charter and Institutions – carry the potential for a new Somalia!

- With a representative Government based on Somali traditions that can bring the country forward, away from unrest, anarchy and possible radicalization.

- With a Government that can also be a partner for international cooperation and bring the country back to the community of nations.

The Charter provides a good basis, and must be translated into real results locally – on the ground.

The Government of Norway supports fully the implementation of the Charter and Institutions.

We will continue our support! We will continue to support institutional capacity building and reconciliation efforts locally.

The fact that the Parliament has begun its work inside Somalia is a necessary step.

It is a good step. It is a beginning of the long road ahead.

Dialogue must now be the means of settling differences, not arms. In this regard I am very concerned about the developments in Mogadishu.

Compromizes must urgently be reached so that the country can function and move forward - with improved security, humanitarian access and gradual building up of the institutions.

We must engage all willing groups in dialogue to move forward. Somalia has always been a moderate society. Emerging radical elements must be marginalized through real progress emanating from the process in Baidoa.

As a member of the international community, Norway also seeks to influence other countries and organizations to do more for Somalia, to be more engaged in a constructive way!

The multilateral system, the United Nations, must be geared up to the challenges at hand in Somalia. Only a united and coordinated international approach can achieve that.

We need common efforts to support the ongoing process for peace, governance and development within Somalia.

We will continue to promote strong and proactive international contributions.

We will follow up and do our part, through the multilateral system and with our partners.

Mrs. Rina Kristmoen from the Embassy in Nairobi will talk to you tomorrow, and go into more detail about the cooperation we are engage in within the region.

Last, but not least, I am very pleased to see so many Somalis in Norway gathered here today!

The kind of inclusiveness you demonstrate here today is a great step forward! I know you have made great efforts to make this happen! I am also very sure it has been worth it - and will continue to be a rewarding journey for all of us!

Uniting in dialogue here in Oslo today is an example to be followed by all Somalis!

You can make a difference!

Together you can send a strong message to Somalia! In support of the efforts for peace and development in the country!

Thank you for your attention and good luck with the Conference!