MILF welcomes new Malaysian peace monitors PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:26

Amid the Sabah crisis, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday welcomed the new set of Malaysian military and police who will continue peacekeeping missions in Mindanao.

Peacekeeping missions have been started by the Malaysian government since 2003 in southern Philippines aside from acting as third party facilitator of the Government of the Philippines-MILF (GPH-MILF) peace process.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said they are mandated to welcome and extend support to the International Monitoring Team (IMT)that has been helping the government and the MILF in the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The tour of duty of IMT-7 ended this month without recording any violation between the parties.

With that as benchmark, Jaafar sees a hassle free monitoring of the IMT-8, headed by chief of mission Maj. Gen. Dato Fadzil bin Mokhtar amid the growing tension in Sabah.

IMT is comprised of soldiers and policemen from Malaysia, Brunei, Libya and Indonesia, and non-uniformed conflict resolution experts from Japan, Norway and the European Union.

Jaafar refuse to comment on the Sabah conflict.

Earlier, Mohaqher Iqbal, chief MILF negotiator, has said the conflict in Sabah, if not resolve soon, would somehow affect the Mindanao peace process.

The MILF, which started talking with the national government since 1997, has announced that its central committee, chaired by Al-Haj Murad, has decided to stand silent on the issue.

Mohaqher Iqbal, chief MILF negotiator said that they are not going to say anything on the Sabah crisis even as Iqbal stressed that the conflict will not affect their on-going peace talks with the Aquino government.

“In the ongoing GPH-MILF peace negotiation, Sabah is simply not part of the agenda. One cannot discuss something which is not arrayed for discussion,” the MILF said in announcing its silence stance.

“We believe this is the best or most appropriate position the MILF can take. The issue is so sensitive that any statement even done objectively or made in the higher interest of the Bangsamoro people can boomerang and put the MILF in bad light,” the MILF website said.