GPH, MILF, MNLF join Kuwait OIC ministerial conference PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 May 2015 08:56

The on-going conference in Kuwait of member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) symbolically brought together the leaders of estranged Moro revolutionary groups attending the event for a sideline solidarity talk.

The OIC’s two-day 42nd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Kuwait will culminate on Friday.

Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, leader of the largest of three groups in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and a representative of Nur Misuari, lawyer Randolph Parcasio, had even sat and dined together at the venue of the gathering.

Misuari, founder of the MNLF, is wanted for allegedly leading a deadly mutiny in September 2013 in Zamboanga City.

Organizers of the OIC’s foreign ministers meeting in Kuwait had permitted Murad, who is MILF’s figurehead, to talk about the prospects of the Mindanao peace process involving Mindanao’s Moro communities and the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

The MNLF, which forged a peace pact with government on September 2, 1996, has been, since the 1970s, an observer to the OIC, a group of more than 50 Muslim states, including petroleum-exporting nations in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sema had told Daily Zamboanga Times via mobile phone at past 7:00 p.m. Wednesday (Philippine time) that the presence of MNLF and MILF officials in the OIC’s annual foreign ministers conclave is a big boost to efforts meant to address the decades-old Moro issue hounding Southern Mindanao since the 1970s.

“Our presence here in Kuwait to represent the Bangsamoro people, to agree on how we can strengthen our bid for genuine peace in the homeland is providential. We must not hesitate to agree with each other on how to push the Mindanao peace process forward as one big family,” Sema said.

The OIC has been trying for more than three years now to foster MNLF-MILF solidarity to hasten the resolution of the quest for self-governance by Moro communities in the country’s south.

It was the late Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi who first initiated from between 2000 to 2003 the reconciliation of the two groups, through his own son, Saif’ul Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, as broker.

The OIC, which helped craft the 1996 government-MNLF truce, activated three years ago, with concurrence from Murad, Sema and Misuari’s representatives, the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum (BCF).

The BCF aims to reconcile their different positions on how to foster lasting peace, along with Malacañang, in troubled southern areas.

Sema said the MNLF-MILF coordinating group agreed to let Murad talk about the Mindanao peace process before representatives of OIC-member states now gathered in Kuwait.

MILF sources said on Thursday morning Murad is to talk about the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission based on the group’s two compacts with government, the October 15, 2013 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.

The bill, now pending in Congress, is the enabling measure for the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a new, MILF-led Bangsamoro entity.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, a staunch supporter of the draft BBL, said he is thankful to the OIC for helping promote cooperation among the MILF and the different factions in the MNLF.

“Peace in the autonomous region, which I believe would soon become a Bangsamoro entity through the BBL, is easier achieved if all sectors have one heartbeat, one vision of peace and sustainable development,” Hataman said.

The joint MNLF-MILF participation in the OIC’s ministerial conference in Kuwait is an offshoot of the dialogue last month in Davao City with leaders of both groups and Iyad Ameen Madani, who is secretary-general of the international Islamic bloc.

Madani came to the Philippines to discuss with leaders of both groups how the OIC can help in the peaceful resolution of the Mindanao Moro issue.

The meeting enabled Madani to get a comprehensive view of developments in the peace process in Mindanao, especially the progress of the peace deal between the MILF and Philippine government.

Madani, while in Davao City, extended his invitation to the Philippine government and members of BCF to gather in Kuwait to achieve a common ground amid the developments in the southern peace process.

The government is represented in the OIC’s Kuwait conclave by Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

Sema said the MNLF and MILF officials attending the conference, which will culminate Friday, will also hold a “solidarity session” to be presided over by people from the OIC’s Southern Philippines Peace Committee.

The committee, comprised of government officials from a dozen Muslim states, among them Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, has been monitoring the Mindanao peace process since the MNLF signed a peace deal with Malacañang during the time of President Fidel Ramos.