Friday, September 13, 2013

Statement of Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles On the Postponement of the 5th GPH-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Review Meeting

From the Website of OPPAP

Statement of Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles On the Postponement of the 5th GPH-MNLF-OIC Tripartite Review Meeting

Posted on Friday, Sep 13th, 2013

The Philippine Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs received today from the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia a Note Verbale concerning the postponement of the 5thSession of the GPH-OIC-MNLF Tripartite Implementation Review Meeting scheduled on 16 September 2013. The formal communication conveyed a copy of the Note Verbal dated 12 September 2013, addressed to the OIC Secretary General from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, which serves as the Chair of the OIC Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP).

The said Note Verbale to the OIC Secretary General relayed the receipt of Indonesia of a letter from the Chair of the MNLF Secretariat requesting for the postponement of the Tripartite Meeting to a later date, preferably in the 1st week of October 2013. It stated that the request was made by MNLF Chair Nur Misuari due to the “situation in Zamboanga City.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs has accordingly conveyed to the Indonesian Embassy that the Government will respect the decision of the OIC-PCSP Chair.

We consider it unfortunate that this opportunity for a face-to-face meeting that had been set precisely to discuss the status of the Tripartite Implementation review and the future of this peace process is yet again delayed.

We conveyed to the Chair of the OIC – PCSP our concern that this meeting not be indefinitely postponed. Indonesia’s Note Verbale to the OIC Secretary General stated that the new schedule and venue of the Tripartite meeting will be communicated following consultations with both parties.

We remain committed to our continuing engagement with the MNLF for the full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, in pursuit of just and lasting peace in Mindanao.


GPH, MILF resume talks; condemn violence by Misuari-led MNLF forces

Posted on Thursday, Sep 12th, 2013

Kuala Lumpur – A day after the violent attacks by elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) associated with Nur Misuari in Zamboanga City, the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) resumed peace negotiations on Tuesday with a shared commitment to “pursue the peace process to its just and rightful conclusion.”

“We open our 40th Formal Exploratory round of talks today with firm resolve that as we seek to hurdle the difficulties we are facing in the negotiations, we will also overcome the security challenges confronting us in various parts of Mindanao today,” GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in her statement during the opening of the 10-day formal exploratory talks in this Malaysian capital.

On Monday, around 400 MNLF forces attacked communities in Zamboanga City, where six people died, scores wounded, and dozens taken hostage. The Misuari-led group recently declared independence and faulted the government for not including the MNLF in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) signed by the GPH and MILF in October 2012.

Coronel-Ferrer said that “there are groups and leaders who are waiting for this process to fail,” but the government and the MILF will work together to succeed in forging and implementing a comprehensive peace pact that is inclusive of the interest and welfare of all in the Bangsamoro.

“We cannot allow this process to fail,” she added. “We have to show to one and all that through reason and compassion, through dialogue and cooperation, we can create the process and the institutions that will enable one and all, exercising their free will but refraining from the use of all forms of violence, to rebuild their societies and polities.”

The agenda in this round of talks is to complete the two remaining annexes on power sharing and normalization. Two annexes have already been signed this year, namely the Annex on Transitional Arrangements on Modalities, signed in February, and the Annex on Revenue Generation and Wealth Sharing, signed in July. These four annexes, together with the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, will comprise the comprehensive agreement which the parties aim to sign within the year.

“We know that the fire fights are exposing the GPH-MILF talks to criticism. But our response is simple. Will aborting this negotiation make other groups happy and stop their violent acts? Will preventing ourselves from finishing our work enable peace to prevail? Not at all. The opposite in fact may be truer,” Coronel-Ferrer stated.

Even with previous strings of violence, both peace panels expressed shared resolve to not allow spoilers to derail the peace process.

MILF panel chair Mohagher Iqbal reiterated on the need to fast track the peace negotiations. “The longer the peace negotiations drag on, the better they believe it is good for them. They may really feast on our perceived failures. However, the noises they are creating nowadays do not mean they are getting stronger. Their very nature and the message that they are exposing is not appealing or attractive to the vast majority of the people especially their view that their civilian casualties are given in war.”

“Therefore, the best way to deprive them of any opportunity to put into play their anarchist agenda at the expense of the peace talks is for the parties to conclude their negotiation and without delay sign the comprehensive peace agreement. There can be no other antidote to these rumblings except through this way,” he stated.

Joint statement

In a joint statement, the parties “condemned in the strongest terms the violence” staged by Misuari’s group.

“The perpetrators must be stopped and held accountable for their acts,” the statement said.

“The parties remain committed to pursuing the peace process to its just and rightful conclusion, in the belief that it is through partnership that institutions reflective of the true needs and aspirations of the Bangsamoro and other peoples of Mindanao shall be installed,” it added.

The joint statement stressed that the government will adhere to its previous commitments, while the MILF, “encourage their Moro brothers and sisters in the MNLF to work together so that the Moro struggle will benefit all.”

Both sides also agreed “to ensure continuity of the peaceful option so that the peoples of Mindanao can live in unity and prosperity.”

“The Parties extend their heartfelt sympathy to and solidarity with the people of Zamboanga City and other areas affected by such violence.

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