Peaceful negotiation, patience and long-term thinking may hold the key to resolving intractable conflicts, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria Rolf Ree has said.
Speaking at the 12th Diplomatic Lecture series of the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Thursday, Ambassador Ree emphasized that it is always important to keep the door open for peaceful negotiations as “the rebels of today may become the loyalists of tomorrow”.
Referring to Norway’s experience in brokering several ceasefire agreements, ranging from the Oslo Peace Accord to negotiations between Columbian government and FARC rebels, the Norwegian diplomat noted that in every conflict there is always an opportunity for a neutral party to broker peaceful settlements.
“Generally, we do not think it is a good idea to close channels of communication no matter how much the parties disagree”, Ree said.
Ambassador Ree also discussed Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Funds which he said is predominantly funded through revenue from Norway’s petroleum resources. He said Norway has invested some of the funds in Nigeria and in other African countries.
Ambassador Rolf Ree was appointed as the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria in September of 2012. Before he was assigned to Nigeria, he was the Minister Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia for five years. He also held diplomatic offices in the Norwegian embassies in India and Tanzania. Ambassador Ree, who earned his Master’s in Political Science from the University of Oslo, has also worked as a lecturer and in Norway’s Ministry of Finance.
The ambassador’s visit was the latest in the AUN Diplomatic Lecture Series, which was initiated in 2011 and has since then brought several foreign diplomats to the American University of Nigeria. The Diplomatic Lecture Series was started to foster and facilitate interaction between the diplomatic community and the AUN community. The University has previously hosted James Entwistle, US ambassador to Nigeria, in October of 2014. Other diplomatic guests of the university since are Dr. Patrick Fay, former Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Moshe Ram, Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Hans-Rudolph Hodel, Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. David MacRae, former EU ambassador to Nigeria, Christopher Cooter, Canadian Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence McCulley, former US Ambassador to Nigeria among others.