Philippines lauds EU participation in International Monitoring Team

19:11, May 20, 2010      

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The Philippine government on Thursday welcomed the participation of the European Union (EU) in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) assisting its negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying the elevated involvement of the EU in the process augers well for efforts to bring lasting peace to Mindanao, the southern island groups of this Southeastern Asian country.

"The EU over the years has helped tremendously in humanitarian and development in the south and its direct involvement in the peace process now augers well for a peaceful and prosperous Mindanao," said Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Jesus Dureza.

Anabelle Abaya, Chief Peace Adviser, said in a statement that the participation of the EU in the IMT, as requested by the government and MILF peace panels "is an acknowledgment of our robust relationship and an expression of our mutual interest in peace."

"The European Union's participation in the International Monitoring Team will boost the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front's determination to stabilize and enhance both security and economic development in Mindanao. We nurture the hope that this will help hasten the conclusion of a lasting and durable political settlement that Mindanao and our people so deeply aspire for," Abaya said.

The Philippine government and MILF peace panels had earlier asked the EU to lead the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Component of the IMT.

The IMT, deployed in 2004, includes representatives from Brunei, Japan, Libya and Malaysia, which is the third-party facilitator of the peace talks and IMT head.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. A final peace deal with the government is expected to touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group's 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters.

Source: Xinhua


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