OIC execs to join MILF meeting

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/26 June) — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is all set to host an important gathering in line with the bid to achieve a negotiated political settlement of the Mindanao conflict, with a top-level delegation from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) expected to grace the event, a senior rebel official said on Tuesday.

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chairman for political affairs, said that OIC Secretary General Prof. Ekmeleddin Ehsanoglu has been invited to attend the four-day Bangsamoro Leaders’ Summit next week at Camp Darapanan, the rebels’ headquarters in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

Slated on July 6 to 9, the event is themed “Strengthening Bangsamoro Unity and Solidarity.”

“The main objective of the summit is to listen to the views of Bangsamoro leaders in achieving a negotiated political solution to the Mindanao problem,” Jaafar told a local radio station in Filipino.

Ehsanoglu is expected to be accompanied by Sayed Kassem El-Masry, OIC Special Envoy for Peace to the Southern Philippines, jaafar said, adding that the Malaysian facilitator, Dato’ Tengku Ab’ Ghafar bin Tengku Mohamed, was also invited.

Malaysia is the third-party mediator in peace talks with the government.

The government and the MILF peace panels agreed in March to have the OIC sit as an observer in the peace process.

Jaafar said they also invited the government peace panel, headed by Mario Victor F. Leonen, and Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles.

The rebel official estimated that some one million people will join the four-day summit.

The Moro National Liberation Front, which forged a final peace deal with the government in 1996, will also be represented by Muslimin Sema, vice mayor of Cotabato City, Jaafar said.

The MNLF was the main rebel group in the 1970s until Salamat Hashim and some leaders broke away to form what is now known as the MILF.

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo will deliver a message during the summit, Jaafar said.

After having bogged down several times in the past, peace negotiations between the government and the Moro rebels have resumed under the Aquino administration. Two months ago, the two parties signed the Decision Points on Principle.

The document, signed during the 27th exploratory talks in Malaysia in April, shall serve as the framework in the discussion and formulation of the comprehensive peace compact.

Jaafar also sought the help of officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as well as religious groups, non-government organizations and the media in helping find a just and lasting political solution to the Mindanao conflict.

Acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv S. Hataman earlier assured support to the amity talks between the government and the MILF, saying that peace is essential to attract investments in the impoverished region wracked by intermittent war between the government and the Moro rebels. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)

Comments

comments