From the Manila Standard Today (Dec 25): MNLF exec tried, failed to sneak into OIC meeting
THE Moro National Liberation Front faction of founding chairman Nur Misuari has tried to sneak in one of its officials into Conakry, the Republic of Guinea, to attend the recently concluded meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
According to a source from the OIC, MNLF peace panel secretariat head Mashur Jundam arrived in Conakry for the Dec. 9 to 11 Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
The source said Jundam told airport officials that he was an assistant foreign minister of the Bangsamoro republic, but he was not allowed to enter Guinea because he had no entry visa.
Jundam had to seek the assistance of Filipino diplomats attending the OIC meeting to be able to leave Conakry.
The OIC earlier invited Misuari to attend the meeting since the MNLF has long been accorded an observer seat in the Muslim bloc.
But in a closed-door side meeting, no less than OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that the three-week hostage siege in Zamboanga City in September was a “wrong move” on Misuari’s part.
The siege left more than 200 people killed and displaced some 120,000 residents in Zamboanga City.
The OIC also adopted a resolution calling on its Peace Committee on the Southern Philippines “to exert their efforts in order not to allow these unfortunate events to derail the peace process.”
In the resolution, the group said the loss of innocent lives and property during the Misuari-led MNLF attack was “deplorable.”
The OIC resolution also “called upon member states and Islamic relief organizations to help generously in the efforts of relief and reconstruction operation in order to allow the quick return of the many thousand displaced people to their homes and to compensate the victims.”
Other MNLF groups who want to have Misuari replaced as the sole representative of the Bangsamoro people before the OIC have already filed a formal petition through the OIC-PCSP.
In an earlier interview, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the administration would prefer an MNLF leader who could “push forward the peace agenda.”
“Certainly, we would like to work with people who can push forward the peace agenda and the reform agenda of the MNLF,” Lacierda said.
“But the leadership of the MNLF is a matter that is best decided by the stakeholders within the MNLF.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs canceled Misuari’s passport in October following the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him over the Zamboanga incident.
The OIC, for its part, expressed its full support to the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front even as it called for an “integration” of the MILF and MNLF peace processes.
In a separate resolution, the OIC tasked Ihsanoglu to “exert his efforts to find common grounds between the parties to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro [MILF] and the 1996 Agreement on the implementation of the 1976 Peace Agreement [MNLF].”
The OIC also urged Ihsanoglu to “develop a mechanism to ensure that the gains of the 1996 Final 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 government and the MILF have already concluded three of the four remaining annexes—on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, and transitional arrangements—that will form part of the comprehensive peace agreement that both sides wish to conclude in January.
Both panels expect to sign the remaining annex normalization (or the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of MILF fighters) as well as an addendum on the Bangsamoro waters next month.
In a report by Christine Avendano of Philippine Daily Inquirer, she quoted the secretary general saying, “I commend the Philippine government effort to promote peace and democracy and inclusive growth. In this context, I congratulate the Philippine government of progress in the Mindanao peace process particularly the agreement reached between parties in December,” Ban said at a joint news conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
“I hope a final agreement will be reached soon,” he also said.
The secretary general was referring to the signing on December 8 by GPH-MILF negotiators of the annex on sharing of power between the national government and
the envisioned Bangsamoro new political entity in Mindanao that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The annex contains details about the particular competencies and authorities of the central government and the proposed Bangsamoro government which shall serve as guide in the drafting of the Basic Law pursunat to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.
The two panels had so far signed three annexes — power sharing on December 8, transitional arrangements and modalities in February 2013 and revenue generation and wealth sharing in July this year. These annexes and the annex on Normalization that is yet to be agreed upon and the signed framework agreement shall form part of the Basic Law being crafted by the 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission headed by MILF Peace Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal. As soon as the annex on normalization is agreed and signed by both panels, they will sign the comprehensive peace agreement or CPA.
Del Rosario said that Ban “praised” President Aquino for the success of the Mindanao peace process in their meeting last Saturday.
The foreign secretary also took time to laud Ban for the “UN’s contribution to find durable solutions to peace and security problems around the world.”
“Let me pay tribute to the Sec Gen for his leadership and untiring efforts to promote international peace, development and democracy and the upholding of the dignity of all human beings,” Del Rosario said.