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Monday, January 25, 2016

OIC to host PH, MNLF tripartite talks

Discussions on the tripartite review process (TRP) of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) will resume on Monday (January 25, 2016) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, hosted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The two-day TRP involves the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) through the inclusive Jeddah Formula, and the OIC as facilitator.

Abdul Sahrin, a senior MNLF leader, told the Manila Bulletin on Sunday that the TRP discussions will focus on the implementation of the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund (BDAF) and the Tripartite Implementation Monitoring Committee (TIMC).

“BDAF and TIMC are two of the Executive-doables that emerged from the results of the nearly nine years of the review of the FPA,” he said.

“The review process has taken even a longer time than the peace talks that produced the FPA from 1993 to 1996,” said Sahrin. He said the first high-level TRP was in 2007 in Jeddah.

Meanwhile, OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani has emphasized that the pan-Islamic group remains supportive to the Mindanao peace process.

“Allow me to reaffirm our support to the efforts of the Philippine nation in the cause of peace and we remain committed to seeing a just and lasting solution that will benefit all the people of the Philippines,” said Madani, who visited the Philippines in April 2015 during which he voiced the OIC support.

He reportedly wrote two separate letters to Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the dates of which were not specified in an email to Manila Bulletin.

Madani assured that the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is in harmony with the ongoing review of the FPA.

“The (OIC) will continue its efforts for peace in Mindanao and will continue monitoring the situation situation closely until our efforts lead us to the real dawn of peace and stability and a final end to the long struggle of the Bangsamoro people,” the OIC chief said.

On the other hand, Sahrin said he foresees a separate discussion on the fate of the BBL as it relates to the OIC’s pushing for synchronization or harmonization of the two peace tracks of the Mindanao peace process.

Sahrin was referring to the GPH-MNLF peace talks and the GPH-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) negotiations. He said that a GPH delegate was also expected to brief the OIC on the progress of the BBL in the two houses of Congress.

“We all know the GPH-MNLF talks in 1996 produced the FPA and the GPH-MILF the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),” he said.

The stalled BBL is supposed to be the convergence mechanism for the FPA and the CAB, he said.

“The OIC in its various resolutions issued by its 57 foreign ministers through the ministerial conference called for the linkage between the two peace deals, lately between the FPA and the BBL, and concurred in by the OIC heads of state or government through the Islamic Summit,” said Sahrin.

He said the MNLF leaders who went to Jeddah for the TRP include Muslimin G. Sema, who chairs his own MNLF group, Hatimill Hassan, lawyer Omar Sema, Yusoph Jikiri, Ustadhz Abdulbaqi Abubakar, Prof. Samsula Adju, Prof. Mashur Ghalib bin Jundam, Romeo Sema, Abu Amri Taddik, Harun Abubakar, and lawyer Bayan Balt, among others.

MNLF founding Chairman Nur P. Misuari is not in the MNLF delegation because of government cases filed against him for the Sept. 2013 siege of Zamboanga City.

by Edd K. Usman

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