Mindanao: “MILF hails UN, EU, UK, US, other states’ support”

http://www.luwaran.com

October 11, 2012 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today said the support of the international community for the recent breakthrough in the GPH-MILF peace process has been overwhelming as it expressed gratitude to world leaders and foreign envoys who have welcomed the Framework Agreement reached between the Government of the Philippines and the (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has hailed with great satisfaction and utmost gratitude these expressions of support from the United Nations, The European Union, Malaysia, The United Kingdom, Japan, United States Australia, Switzerland, and Indonesia.

“We are deeply honored and humbled, and assured by their support,” Murad told Luwaran in an interview this morning.

Murad particularly took note of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commendation of President Benigno Aquino III for his vision and courage, as well as the commitment of the MILF leadership, in reaching the landmark agreement.

Murad assured the UN Secretary General that the MILF stands ready to work with the UN or any of its agencies in support for the implementation of the Framework Agreement and other related issues.

Ban said that the United Nations stands ready to provide assistance to the parties, as needed, in implementing the Framework Peace Agreement.

Ban also expressed gratefulness to all national and international actors, in particular the Malaysian government, for their contributions to the success of the peace negotiations.

The European Union called the Framework Agreement “a major step towards a long-lasting peace in Mindanao, which will lead the island to stability and prosperity,” and maintained that they would continue to support the peace process.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the agreement was “a testament to the commitment of all sides for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the southern Philippines.” She also encouraged “all parties to work together to build peace, prosperity and greater opportunities for all the people of the Philippines.”
Likewise, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas welcomed the drafting of the framework agreement saying that “The United States has long supported peace and stability in Mindanao. We will continue to look for ways to support the people of Mindanao as they accelerate broad-based and inclusive growth.”

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague calls the framework agreement a “huge step forward,” saying that it “has the potential finally to end the long-running conflict. Full implementation of the agreement by 2016 can bring about peace, security, and development. That will be good not only for Mindanao, but for the whole of the Philippines.”

However, while welcoming the said agreement with the same enthusiasm, British Ambassador Stephen Lillie noted that “one of the most relevant lessons at this point is to recognize that even after an agreement it won’t all be plain sailing, and there will still be challenges.”

The government of Japan has expressed support to the historic Framework Agreement forged by the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under the facilitation of the Government of Malaysia yesterday in Kuala Lumpur.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan, in its statement issued yesterday, said Japan heartily welcomes the Framework Agreement concerning the Mindanao Peace Process reached after many years of negotiation between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“The Framework Agreement is an important first step toward the realization of the final agreement concerning the Mindanao Peace Process and Japan sincerely pays its respects to both the Government of the Philippines and the MILF for their persistent negotiation efforts and to the Government of Malaysia for its contribution as the facilitator,” the MOFA statement cited.

Switzerland and Australia, in separate statements, also joined other nations in their support for the peace breakthrough. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that “this agreement is testament to the commitment of both the Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to the concept of a peaceful settlement.”

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issued a similar statement saying that “Switzerland is hopeful that the two parties will adhere to the provision of the framework agreement in view of the establishment of the Bangsamoro in the region of Mindanao.”

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has welcomed the announcement of a framework agreement for peace between the GPH and MILF.

He praised the GPH and MILF for demonstrating their desire to end the decades of violence and commended their efforts to come to an agreement despite their differences.

“I also reserve special praise for President (Benigno) Aquino for his unwavering commitment to a durable peace in the Philippines.

“I am delighted that through this historic deal, the rights, dignity and future prosperity of the Bangsamoro people will be protected, while at the same time the sovereignty and constitution of the Philippines will be preserved,” Najib said in a statement issued to Bernama.

Najib said: “It is important that all parties stand true to their commitments and work towards a new era of peace in the Philippines.”

The agreement, he said, would ensure that the Bangsamoro people would enjoy the dividends of peace which they rightly deserved.

“In turn, they should respect their fellow Filipinos of Christian faith as moderation is the true Islamic way,” he said.

The prime minister said he was honoured that Malaysia had been able to facilitate the talks since 2001, and lead the International Monitoring Team from 2004.

“This process has strengthened the bonds of trust between our two countries, and we will continue to offer our support to help build capacity among the Bangsamoro,” Najib said.

Najib said that he would continue to work closely with President Aquino to implement the framework agreement.

“And in honouring a promise I made to the President, I look forward to travelling to Manila to personally witness the signing of this landmark agreement,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was not claiming credit over the agreement.

“I’m not claiming any credit for this…I’m very glad Malaysia, the Philippine Government and the people involved agreed to a settlement.

From the Basque country in Spain, a congratulatory message was received by the MILF.

The Abertzale Left congratulates, in its statement, said that the agreement opens the way to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region.

“The agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Front aims to respect and fulfill the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao and put an end to 40 years of armed conflict after a long process of negotiations initiated in 2000. The agreement creates for the first time in the history of Mindanao one own government body and in the coming years the population of Mindanao will be the responsible to set the foundations for this new self-government,” the statement continued.

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