Japanese gov’t expresses support to the GPH–MILF Framework Agreement

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.

“In the meantime, because the Framework Agreement leaves the resolution of several important issues to future negotiations, it is expected that more difficulties must be overcome to reach the final agreement. Japan strongly hopes that both parties will steadily implement the contents of the Framework Agreement and continue their persistent negotiation efforts towards the early realization of the final agreement,” it added.

Japan would like to continue to lend its full support to the Mindanao Peace Process through the dispatch of experts on development to the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the intensive implementation of economic cooperation projects in former conflict-affected areas (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD), the participation in the International Contact Group (ICG) on the peace talks, and other methods, according to the MILF official site.

The 13-page Framework Agreement was reached after more than two years of hard negotiations between the GPH and MILF Peace Negotiating Panels headed by Atty. Marvic Leonen and Mohagher Iqbal, respectively.

Both the GPH and MILF conveyed utmost gratitude and praises for the Government of Malaysia and its people headed by His Excellency Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Moh’d Najib Razak for the facilitation of the peace process for more than 10 years.

The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), a Geneva-based independent mediation organization and a member of the International Contact Group (ICG) of  peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), commends the two Parties for reaching  an agreement aimed at ending decades of fighting in Mindanao, south of the Philippines.

The HD Centre praises President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines and the Chairman of the MILF Al Haj Murad for their ‘courage and determination’. David Harland, the Executive Director of the HD Centre, said:  ‘The Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have taken an historic step with this agreement. It ushers in a new chapter in the search for peace in the troubled region of Mindanao.

The HD Centre supports the Bangsamoro and Filipinos as they work together to make this agreement a reality on the ground. ‘Peace does not only come with an agreement.’ David Gorman said. ‘The real test will come as the Parties seek to implement the agreement effectively, comprehensively and inclusively among all the Bangsamoro’.

The European Union members with the Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) said “today is historic with the forging of the Framework Agreement. We congratulate the government and MILF and we are confident that it will benefit all the people’s here.”

His Excellency MGen Datuk Abdul Rahim bin Moh’d Yusuff, Head of Mission of IMT, said “congratulations to both the government and MILF.”

IMT is composed of the governments of Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Norway, European Union (EU), and Indonesia.

His Excellency President Benigno Simeon Aquino III of the Philippines had expressed a strong appeal from Malacanang Palace to support the GPH – MILF Framework Agreement.

The MILF leadership, particularly its military organization which had gathered more than 5000 ground commanders headed by BIAF Chief of Staff Sammy al Mansur, upon hearing the statements of President Aquino said “Indeed we made a history and we are fully committed and willing to sacrifice to the challenge of the real work ushered in by the Framework Agreement.”

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