MILF, MNLF meet in Jeddah; vow to activate Bangsamoro Coordination Forum

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 June) — Leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the different factions of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) including Nur Misuari’s group, met in Jeddah on June 12 on invitation of the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), where they agreed to “activate and operationalize” the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum to address the concerns of the parties that signed separate peace agreements with the Philippine government (GPH).

Professor Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF peace panel told MindaNews that the MILF and MNLF also agreed to utilize the BCF as “a venue for discussing common grounds as well as to explore collaborative efforts at addressing the concerns of each party” and to “continue to engage and discuss specific issues.”

The Philippine government (GPH) and the MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement on December 23, 1976 in Tripoli, Libya and the Final Peace Agreement on September 2, 1996 in Malacanang while the government and the MILF, which broke away from the MNLF in the late 1970s, signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012 and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro on March 27, 2014.

JEDDAH MEETING. Representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic LIberation Front pose for posterity in the June 12 meeting called for by the OIC Secretary General. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga

JEDDAH MEETING. Representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front and Moro Islamic LIberation Front pose for posterity in the June 12 meeting called for by the OIC Secretary General. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga

The MILF was represented by a delegation of eight led by MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal while the MNLF’s  11-member delegation represented different factions listed under the so-called “Jeddah Formula” of representation of 2007.

Misuari’s MNLF was represented by, among others, lawyer Randolph Parcasio, Dr. Mashur Jundam andJimmy Labawan; Sema’s MNLF was represented by, among others, Muslimin Sema, Hatimil Hassan and Abdulbaki Abubakar.

MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari is reportedly somewhere in Sulu, the subject of arrest warrants for rebellion and violation of the International Humanitarian Law following the 20-day standoff between MNLF forces loyal to Misuari and government troops in Zamboanga City in September last year. The standoff left at least 200 dead, several houses and buildings burned and bombed, and over a hundred thousand persons displaced.

OIC Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani invited the two groups to the OIC headquarters in Jeddah for an “informal and frank discussion” on their respective concerns on June 12, in the run-up to the 41st Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Jeddah on June 18 and 19. Madani will report the results of the meeting to the CFM.

Observer status

Madani and Ambassador Sayed Kassem El Masry, the  Secretary General’s Envoy for Muslim Minorities and chair of the OIC’s Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP), attended the meeting by the MILF’s Mohagher Iqbal

The 57-nation OIC facilitated the talks between the GPH and the MNLF, which has an observer status in the OIC since 1977. The office of the OIC’s Secretary-General on the other hand, sought and was granted by the GPH and MILF an observer status in the GPH-MILF peace talks in March 2012.

The PCSP is an 11-nation expanded version of what used to be the OIC’s Ministerial Committee of the Eight headed by Indonesia. It was set up following a special OIC mission sent to Mindanao to look into the implementation of the GPH-MNLF peace agreement on the10th anniversary of the GPH-MNLF peace agreement in 2006.

The MNLF has repeatedly said the peace agreement has not been implemented in full.

Consultation, Coordination

Then OIC Secretary-Geneeral Prof. Ekemelddin Ihsanoglu, initiated the talks between the MILF and MNLF in a meeting he hosted between MNLF founder Nur Misuari and MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim on May 18, 2010 in Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan. In that meeting, both agreed that unity is indispensable to the success of the Bangsamoro struggle and that there are no basic differences between their Fronts as both are seeking to achieve peace, justice and a fair solution to the problems of the Bangsamoro people.

MNLF-MILF. Representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front on the left and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the right. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga

MNLF-MILF. Representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front on the left and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the right during the June 12 meeting with the OIC Secretary-General in Jeddah. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga

The 37th session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in its resolution at the end of the Dushanbe meeting, urged the MNLF and MILF to “unite their efforts for the peace and development of the Bangsamoro people,” took note of the Secretary-General’s “additional report” on the meeting between the MNLF and MILF held at the Sec-Gen’s office in Jeddah” and welcomed their “principle agreement to establish a mechanism for consultation and coordination between them.”

Slow progress

Setting up the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum has taken so long.

In fact, since the 2010 agreement to set it up, every resolution of the OIC thereafter has repeatedly urged both parties to set it up.

In June 2011, the 38th CFM meeting in Khazakhstan passed a resolution urging leaders of the MNLF and MILF to “continue their efforts at joint coordination and collaboration to achieve peace and development for the Bangsamoro people.”

Ihsanoglu again met with the leaders from both sides to a meeting in December 2011 where the representatives agreed to consult their respective leaderships on the establishment of a coordination forum that would be called Bangsamoro Coordination Forum, and which could, “in the future and if the need arises,” consult other concerned sectors including the Ulama.

Ihsanoglu attended the signing in Malacanang of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on October 15, 2012.

SHARING A MEAL. Leaders of the MNLF and MILF share a meal in Jeddah where they met on invitation of the OIC Secretary General. L to R:  Randolph Parcasiio, Muslimin Sema of the MNLF, Mohagher Iqbal of MILF. Partly hidden beside Iqbal is Hatimil Hassan of the MNLF. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga.

SHARING A MEAL. Leaders of the MNLF and MILF share a meal in Jeddah where they met on invitation of the OIC Secretary General. L to R: Randolph Parcasiio, Muslimin Sema of the MNLF, Mohagher Iqbal of MILF. Partly hidden beside Iqbal is Hatimil Hassan of the MNLF. Photo courtesy of Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga.

In November 2012, the 39th CFM meeting in Djibouti, passed a resolution calling for the “continuation of dialogue to form the proposed Bangsamoro Coordination Forum” between the MNLF and MILF, commended the MILF”s “acceptance of the proposal” and urged MNLF to “accept the proposal as soon as possible to enable institutional and orderly coordination between them.”

In December 2013, the resolution of the 40th CFM meeting in Ghana called on the Secretary General to exert efforts to “find common grounds” between MNLF and MILF and “develop a mechanism to ensure that the gains of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement are preserved and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its Annexes are fully implemented with the end goal of integrating the gains achieved in these peace agreements in the Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The Bangsamoro Basic Law drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission to Malacanang on April 22 is still being reviewed by the Office of the President.

The resolution also invited the OIC Secretary-General to “continue his efforts to narrow the gap between the positions of the leaderships of the MNLF and the MILF to continue their joint coordination and work to achieve peace and development for the people of Bangsamoro in the framework of Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) established between the two fronts at the Islamic Conference in Djibouti” and called for holding another meeting to prepare guiding principles for its work.

The meeting referred to in the resolution was held on June 12 with Madani, who assumed the post of OIC Secretary-General early this year. (Carolyn O. Arguillas /MindaNews)

URL: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2014/06/15/milf-mnlf-meet-in-jeddah-vow-to-activate-bangsamoro-coordination-forum/

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  • moroBYnature

    Ustadz abdulbaki may not possibly represent the Sema group as he is listed as Foreign Minister of MNLF under Chairman Nur Misuari according to OIC records…

    please state the facts…

    Misuari’s MNLF was represented by, among others, lawyer Randolph Parcasio, Dr. Mashur Jundam andJimmy Labawan; Sema’s MNLF was represented by, among others, Muslimin Sema, Hatimil Hassan and Abdulbaki Abubakar.

    • badar majun

      Good to see these People Uniting for Bangsamoro Cause.

  • http://www.facebook.com/OneMNLF Rltr. John R. Petalcorin

    As of this hour, 7AM 6/16/2014, we are still waiting for their papers to support their claim they were authorized by Misuari to attend such meeting.

    • Badar Majun

      I thought you were representing Nur Misuari in the Forum?

      • Den

        Hahaha!

  • badar Majun

    Correct, Ustadz Abdulbaki is a loyalist of Nur.

  • Bangsahsug

    This is a consultation Meeting, between the prominent members of two Fronts. the OIC solution formula to accept the CAB as a partial fulfillment of the requirements both the 1976 tripoli agreement and 1996 agreement JAkarta.. first meeting unified for the MNLF factions , according to the top leaders of MNLF – like ICC Habib Mujahab Hashim and Datu Ulum , Council -Mus Sema and Hatimil Hassan, they said they factions by there principles but they have the same goal and one leader No other than CHairMan Nur ..

  • Bangsahsug

    There will be annual coordination meeting of the Minister of
    Foreign Affair of the OIC Member state on June 18 and 19 2014 . Atty Randolph Parcasio and Abubakr Abdulbaki presenting to Attend from MNLF delegates authorized by Misuari.

  • Jack

    They can sign papers, attend conferences, think-up impressive names and acronyms, but none of it will matter if they can’t put a stop to the violence. All the different terrorist groups operating in the region have no intention of honoring peace treaties, and if MNLF and MILF can’t control them, then all this talk is a waste of time.

  • Kurapt Ako

    The only real way I can see to resolve this issue is to partition Mindanao by giving independence to the ARMM which I assume will become part of the Sultanate of Sulu. For isn’t this what all Muslims in the Philippines and Sabah are fighting for. The British also have a good history of partitioning countries. Pakistan and Bangladesh from India,