MILF Peace Panel invited to Japan

  • Friday, Mar 15 2013
  • Written by  AA

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panel has been invited to Japan as guests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) from March 17-23, 2013. This was learned from a press release issued by MOFA last March 11. 2013.

The delegation headed by Mohagher Iqbal, MILF Chief Negotiator will leave today for Manila and will proceed to Tokyo on the 17th. While in Japan, the group is expected to confer with officials of the ministry and make familiarization tour in various Japanese landmarks in that country. As of press time, the identities of panel members who will join Iqbal’s trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun” have not been known yet.

Japan has actively contributed to the Mindanao peace process since 2006 and has dispatched development experts to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and intensively implemented economic cooperation projects in conflict-affected areas that can directly benefit the grassroots communities (J-BIRD).

Japan has been an observer in the peace talks since participating in the International Contact Group (ICG) in 2009. On August 4, 2011, Japan hosted an informal meeting on the outskirts of Tokyo between President Benigno Aquino III and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim where they held informal discussions and agreed on the importance of resolving the various issues on the Mindanao peace process.

Based on the recognition that peace in Mindanao will serve regional peace and stability, Japan is contributing to the reconstruction and development of the Mindanao region through: (i) the dispatch of development experts to the Social and Economic Development Section of the IMT; (ii) the concentrated implementation of economic cooperation projects such as extending Grassroots Grant Assistance for Human Security in former conflict-affected areas (J-BIRD); and (iii) participation in the International Contact Group (ICG) that is providing advice by attending the peace talks as an observer, among others.

It is expected that the visit of the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel members to Tokyo can help expedite the Mindanao peace process that will lead to the establishment of the Bangsamoro new political entity in 2016.

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