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MNLF, MILF leaders to meet in Jeddah to discuss peace deals with gov't

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi - Leaders of the  Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) may soon be reunited after  more than four decades of separation as they will meet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this month  to discuss a common cause for the Bangsamoro homeland. 

Egyptian Ambassador to the Philippines Mahmoud Mostafa Ahmed Mohamed confirmed in a press briefing with the media at the Sand Bar Resort here that the secretariat of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has invited the MNLF and the MILF leaders on June 19 to 20.

Egypt served as the chair of the OIC’s Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP) between the Philippine government and the MNLF.

Mahmoud said before holding the Tripartite Review process, the OIC has yet to address two issues based on the roadmap that was crafted last week. 

He said the issues include the meeting with the MILF and the MNLF leaders and for the MNLF leaders to unify its position.

It was reported earlier that there were efforts of the OIC to unify the two factions to hasten the implementation of the peace agreements which both groups forged with the Philippine government. 

The MILF, then under the late leader Hashim Salamat, broke away with the MNLF main faction during the late 70’s due to ideological differences.

“There are some things to be made by the secretariat, including the coordination between the MILF and the MNLF. And the MNLF itself, there are some duties to be made by unifying their own position, looking for one language to speak,” Mahmoud said.

The MNLF has been divided into different factions after its central committee distanced from Nur Misuari, the founding chairman and created their own 15-man council due to leadership problems.

He said after addressing the two issues, the Tripartite Review will be held and will thresh out all the issues for the final implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement forged between the Philippines and the MNLF.

The Tripartite Review was stalled last September after Misuari called for its postponement after his forces of about 500 armed men took siege of Zamboanga City last Sept. 9 in a failed attempt to declare the Bangsamoro Republik. 

Misuari’s attempt was borne out of his strong opposition on the government efforts in signing peace deal with the MILF.

Secretary Teresita Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said they have to wait for the result of the meeting between the OIC and the MNLF before engaging the group in the peace table.

“The government is waiting for the process. We understand that to sit across the table, maybe sometimes you need to think first,” Deles said. 

BANGSAMORO REPUBLIK

EGYPTIAN AMBASSADOR

FINAL PEACE AGREEMENT

HASHIM SALAMAT

ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

MAHMOUD

MISUARI

MNLF

TRIPARTITE REVIEW

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