Monday, July 27, 2009

OIC praises truce in South RP

Army soldiers read the Mindanao Examiner newspaper in the southern Philippines. Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have forged a truce recently and would revive stalled peace talks in Mindanao. The Organization of the Islamic Conference praised the cease-fire and urged both sides to resume peace negotiations. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Mark Navales)

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 27, 2009) – The influential Organization of the Islamic Conference has praised Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for the cessation of hostilities in the troubled region of Mindanao.

President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the military to halt offensives against the Muslim rebels in an effort to revive the stalled peace talks with the MILF.

The MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, has reciprocated Arroyo’s gesture and also declared a truce. But the MILF said it would resume peace talks only if Arroyo honors the Muslim homeland deal which the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional.

Peace talks collapsed in August last year both sides failed to sign the homeland deal that Christian politicians had opposed.

Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC Secretary General, also called on the Arroyo government and the MILF to exert efforts in resuming stalled peace talks and realize security, peace and development in the southern Philippines.

He said OIC is ready and willing to make all-out efforts to assist in the peace process.

Foreign ministers of the OIC member states have previously expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the southern Philippines because of the fighting that displaced more than 600,000 mostly Muslim civilians in Mindanao.

The MILF has welcomed Ihsanoglu statement, but said the OIC has to be more active in helping put an end to more than three decades of hostilities in the southern Philippines.

“We welcome the statement of Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, but the Bangsamoro people need more concrete actions from the OIC to help in putting an end to the conflict in Mindanao that has affected more than half a million people,” Eid Kabalu, a senior MILF leader, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Malaysia, a member of the OIC, is brokering the peace talks between the Philippines and the MILF.

Kabalu also has sought aid from the OIC to help starving Muslim refugees in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

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