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OIC steps in to patch up MILF-MNLF differences

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ILIGAN CITY—The influential Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has intervened to patch up the kinks hindering efforts to unify the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for Bangsamoro empowerment.

During the 39th Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa on November 15-17, the OIC urged the MNLF to waste no time in formalizing a coordinative mechanism with the MILF “to achieve peace and development for the people of Bangsamoro.”

This developed as the OIC, on its website, urged its 57 member-states, as well as the pan-Islamic body’s “subsidiary organs and specialized and affiliated institutions” and Islamic charitable organizations “to increase their medical, humanitarian, economic, financial and technical assistance for the development of Southern Philippines with a view to accelerating the pace of social and economic development.”

Forum proposal

Under the auspices of the OIC, the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF) was proposed to be created to serve as a regular platform for both groups to dialogue on issues and unite efforts to advance the Moro struggle for self-governance.

This unity effort was formally started in May 2010 in the sidelines of the 37th OIC-CFM meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu then brought MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari and MILF chief Murad Ebrahim to meet and agree to coordinate efforts.

Ihsanoglu had stressed that “coordination between the two fronts has become of utmost necessity” because their respective peace processes with the Philippine government “revolve around the same problem and the same territory.”

The MILF broke away from the MNLF in 1978. In October this year, after almost 15 years of negotiations, it signed an initial pact with the government, which it said is an improvement of the concessions gained by the MNLF through the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

The creation of the BCF cropped up during the December 2011 meeting between the two groups in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In a resolution, the OIC-CFM “commends (the) MILF’s acceptance of the proposal and urges (the) MNLF to accept the proposal as soon as possible to enable institutional and orderly coordination between them.”

Murad-Misuari meet

Murad and Misuari headed their respective delegations to the Djibouti meeting. Both talked to each other in a meeting hosted by Ihsanoglu and witnessed by Djibouti Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmoud Ali Yussof.

“(We) welcome the meeting between the MNLF and the MILF on the sidelines of this session…,” read the Djibouti Declaration, which was issued by the diplomats of 57 OIC member-states at the conclusion of the CFM meeting, a copy of which was posted on the OIC website.

“(We) call upon the two fronts to unify efforts and coordinate positions for the benefit of the Bangsmoro people,” it said.


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Tags: Bangsamoro , Diplomacy , Horn of Africa , Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) , Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) , Moro rebellion , Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) , peace , Peace agreement , Philippines




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