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    OIC convenes tripartite review process in Manila after 3 years since 2012


    MANILA, Philippines, Sept. 14, 2015


    40 years gains of peace
    should not be lost -- OIC


    Pan-Islamic body assures it won't abandon 1996 FPA until fully implemented

    MANILA -- The Mindanao peace process is already 40 years, and its gains should not be lost.


    An official of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) made this observation at the two-day tripartite meeting it facilitated between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Makati City.


    Ambassador Sayyed Kaseem El-Masry, the OIC’s special envoy for peace for the Philippines, presided over the tripartite formal preparatory meeting on September 7-8 at the New World Hotel in Makati City, Metro Manila.

    He said the results of the two-day talks will be tackled during the formal main tripartite talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to be held in November.


    He acknowledged thevGPH wanted a conclusion to the tripartite process reviewing the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) it signed with the MNLF.

    It can be recalled GPH wrote the OIC to convey its desire to conclude the review of the FPA so that the rest of the provisions and those agreed in the review could be implemented already.

    El-Masry described the FPA as the implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement which the two parties also signed with the OIC as facilitator.

    “We arrived at this mechanism (tripartite process) to review the implementation of the FPA,” he said, adding it started in 2007.

    The MNLF earlier questioned some aspects of the FPA’s implementation, leading to the OIC-Peace Committee for Southern Philippines (PCSP) to convene the three-way process.

    Now, El-Masry said, the peace process has a second track, which is the negotiations between the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    “While on the other hand the government of President Aquino wanted to terminate this process of the tripartite, we agreed to resume…not to terminate it, (but) conclude successfully in a way to accommodate the other peace tracks, and also attend to pending unresolved issues,” the OIC special envoy said.

    In referring to tracks of the peace process, El-Masry meant the GPH-MNLF and the GPH-MILF, furthering referring to the FPA and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) of GPH and MILF.

    “OIC thinks there should be convergence, there should be some linkage, between the two tracks, peace gains should not be loss, gains of previous agreements should not be lost, all the efforts undertaken all these 40 years,” said El-Masry.

    Meanwhile, the MNLF expressed optimism the process will continue and achieve a breakthrough on three remaining contentious issues.

    Randolph Parcasio, MNLF legal counsel for the group of founding Chairman Nur Misuari, said the three pending issues are on strategic minerals; territory/plebiscite; and provisional government.

    Parcasio is spokesman and head of the MNLF panel comprising of members of different MNLF factions invited by the OIC to the tripartite talks. The MNLF representation is called the Jeddah Formula.

    He voiced optimism that with the resumption of the long-stalled process, “a breakthrough” is possible in resolving the three contentious issues.

    Parcasio noted that the review of the has already achieved consensus on 40 issues.

    El-Masry, meanwhile, emphasized that the OIC is not endorsing the MNLF or the MILF, but it is only after the welfare of the Bangsamoro people.

    Meanwhile, the MNLF can rest assured the influential OIC will not abandon until fully implemented the Tripoli Agreement and the FPA.

    This is the assurance of the OIC, which was enunciated by El-Masry. A veteran diplomat of Egypt, he has been OIC troubleshooter involved with the GPH-MNLF peace process, particularly the review of the FPA’s implementation.

    El-Masry said when Madani visited the Philippines in April this year, he emphasized in his meetings with top level officials that the peace process in Mindanao should have everyone on board.

    "No one should be left in the cold," he quoted Madani as saying. He was apparently referring to the MNLF and other stakeholders.

    "The OIC is fully committed to peace from the very day of its foundation (in September 1969)," he said.

    It can be recalled the OIC secretary general, accompanied by his special envoy, paid a visit on President Aquino, Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, etc.

    Madani voiced support for the Mindanao peace process while at the same time warning that failure could open the door to radical elements to create violence.

    The tripartite process that started in 2007 is a review of the implementation of the FPA after the MNLF questioned its implementation by GPH.


    As this developed, in the meeting on September 7-8 organized and hosted by the OIC, the GPH and the MNLF agreed to "revisit" signed agreements, including the Bangsamoro Development Assistance Fund (BDAF), the Tripartite Implementation Monitoring Committee (TIMC), on Co-management of strategic minerals, the three interim agreements they signed in Soho City, Indonesia, in June 2011,
    with a view to finding ways to implement them.

    Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) described the latest Manila meeting "as done with cordiality and atmosphere of friendship."

    "I believe we have achieved something and we have laid down the framework for the ministerial meeting," the OPAPP official said.


    A report of the meeting showed GPH and MNLF agreed to a ministerial level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sometime in November this year to continue the tripartite process. #

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