MNLF, MILF delegations in Djibouti for OIC meet

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 November) –  The Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari and the  Moro Islamic Liberation Front may not have sat down for a meeting in the Philippines but they will find themselves in the same place in Djibouti, Africa, for the 39th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Djibouti, Africa on November 15 to 17.

Misuari announced he would attend the Djibouti conference during the “Grand Summit Gathering” of the MNLF at the Crocodile Park in Davao City on October 21.

The MNLF has been sitting as observer in the OIC since 1977, before Misuari’s vice chair, Salamat Hashim, broke away to form what initially was referred to as the “New MNLF” but was later renamed MILF.

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair, told MindaNews on Wednesday that MILF peace panel members Michael Mastura and Maulana Alonto, along with secretariat member Mohajirin Ali, are attending the conference in Djibouti.

The Philippine government has also sent a representative in the OIC, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, who was former chair of the GPH panel negotiating with the MILF.

Iqbal declined to comment if MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who was also invited to the CFM, is attending.  Murad and Misuari had met previously in a CFM, sat specifically in the 37th meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18 to 20, 2010.

The OIC has been trying to set up a Bangsamoro Coordination Forum consisting of the MNLF factions and the MILF.

In July, Prof. Ekemelddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the 57-nation OIC, sent a message to the MILF’s Bangsamoro Leaders Assembly in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, that since the peace processes with the MILF and MNLF “revolve around the same problem and the same territory, the process of coordination between the two fronts has become of utmost necessity.”

The OIC had brokered the talks between the GPH and MNLF since the 1970s, eventually leading to the signing of the Tripoli Agreement in 1976 and the Final Peace Agreement in 1996. It also brokered the Tripartite Review  (GPH-MNLF-OIC) on the implementation of the 1996 peace pact starting 2007 and the Tripartite Ad Hoc High-Level Group.

Starting April this year, Ihsanoglu’s office had been sending a representative to the GPH-MILF peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, as observer.

Ihsanoglu’s office had requested the GPH and MILF peace panels for an observer’s seat in the KL talks. The panels approved the request in March.

Ihsanoglu attended the signing of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in Malacanang on October 15.

Ihsanoglu also met separately with President Aquino, Murad and Misuari.

The OIC website reported that Ihsanoglu congratulated the President for this “important first step for terminating the long standing conflict and expressed hope that it will usher a new era of tranquility and peaceful developments for the region.”

He also emphasized the need to link the expected agreement which will come up as a result of the Framework Agreement,  to the 1976 Peace Agreement,” the OIC report said.

Ihsanoglu also assured President Aquino of  the “continuous support of the OIC to all peace efforts, and emphasized on the unity of the Bangsamoro People which is more needed now than ever.”

The OIC report said the organization is “at present is assisting the process of bringing MILF and MNLF together to intensify their cooperation and coordination” and that the establishment of a “Bangsamoro Coordination Council” is “under discussion for that purpose.”

Ihsanoglu also proposed the holding of a tripartite meeting, again involving the GPH, MNLF and OIC, “to find practical and implementable solutions for the remaining unresolved issues.”

The proposed meeting, the OIC said,  “is expected to tackle also difficulties that is faced in the full implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement or any discrepancies that may exist between the Agreements signed with the MNLF and the new Framework Agreement with the MILF,” the report said.

Ihsanoglu’s proposal “will be discussed thoroughly” in the Djibouti conference next month, it added. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2012/11/15/mnlf-milf-delegations-in-djibouti-for-oic-meet/

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