Norway joins int'l group monitoring Mindanao peace process

18:05, June 07, 2010      

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Norway has formally accepted membership in the Malaysian-led group that oversees the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a statement issued in its website Monday, the MILF said Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Knot Solem has confirmed his country's acceptance to join the International Monitoring Team (IMT). This confirmation was included in a letter addressed to chief government peace negotiator Rafael Seguis, a copy of which was furnished to the MILF.

Norway, which earlier conditionally accepted the offer of the government and MILF Peace panels to join the IMT last May, said it is interested to join the security component of the team.

Norway is the latest member to join the IMT. The Original members were Malaysia, Brunei, Libya, and Japan.

The IMT has been credited for significantly reducing clashes between the military and the Muslim rebels in the country's volatile south. It has four components namely, security, socio- economic, humanitarian, and civilian protection.

Norway is facilitating the peace talks between the government and the local communist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.

As the nine-year peace process under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo drew to a close last week, the Philippine government and the MILF failed to sign a comprehensive peace accord. Both parties settled for a declaration of commitment to continue the peace process under the new government.

The MILF, which the Philippine military says has 11,000 fighters and has been waging war against the government in four decades, is the largest group battling for self-rule in Mindanao.

A final peace agreement is expected to end the protracted war in Mindanao that has claimed at least 120,000 lives, brought massive destruction to property, and crippled the region's economy.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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