Indonesia Welcomes Philippines MILF Deal

By webadmin on 10:43 am Oct 10, 2012
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Dessy Sagita

The Indonesian government on Tuesday welcomed a statement by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III marking a preliminary peace agreement between his government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In an official statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the agreement signed on Sunday, as well as the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front, “reflects the strong commitment of the government of the Philippines to create comprehensive peace in the Southern Philippines.”

The statement said that Indonesia stands ready to provide support and assistance, including exchanging expertise to ensure lasting peace.

The statement also said that peace between Manila and the two Islamic rebel groups would provide a comprehensive solution to the conflict that over the past four decades has taken many lives and resulted in great material loss.

The landmark deal, announced by Aquino on Sunday, was reached after the latest round of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, also know as the MILF, in Kuala Lumpur.

After the details are worked out, the framework agreement will be signed by the Philippine president and leaders of the MILF on Monday.

The 11,000-strong MILF had been waging a battle in the southern Philippines since 1969 in one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies, a conflict that has claimed at least 120,000 lives.

Indonesia, the statement said, is strongly committed to the establishment of peace, particularly in the Southeast Asian region.

“As a close neighbor of the Philippines, Indonesia always supports the efforts by the government of the Philippines to create and to achieve peace with the Moro community in southern Philippines,” it said.

Indonesia has, over the past two decades, been facilitating the peace process between the Philippine government and the MNLF, and between 1994 and 2002 sent the Garuda Contingent (Konga XVII)to the southern Philippines under the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation peace process. An Indonesian observer team is also participating in the International Monitoring Team, which has been agreed to by the government of the Philippines and the MILF.

Indonesia has also faced insurgencies in several of its provinces, especially in Aceh and the former province of East Timor, which gained independence in 2002.