“It is very encouraging that the parties have now agreed to all chapters in the comprehensive peace agreement. The agreement demonstrates the parties’ commitment to achieving peace and development in Mindanao”, said Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
On 25 January in Kuala Lumpur the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, announced that they have reached an agreement on the so-called normalization annex. This paves the way for a Comprehensive peace agreement that will, when it is implemented, end decades of warfare in Central Mindanao.
The conflict has been an obstacle to economic and social development in Mindanao, and has had severe humanitarian consequences for the civilian population. Hundred thousands of people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict.
“Norway stands ready to offer assistance and support in the implementation of this agreement. I would like to congratulate President Acquino and MILF chairman Murad and their negotiation panels. A special recognition also to the Malaysian government as facilitator to the process, and to the important contribution by the members of the International Contact Group (ICG)”., said Brende.
The ICG is comprised of four countries: Japan, UK, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and four international NGOs: Muhammadiyah, The Asia Foundation, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and Conciliation Resources. It is the first of its kind where NGOs and diplomats have been working together in a formal and permanent peace negotiating setting.
Norway has since 2008 been a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao which is tasked to monitor the implementation of the cease fire agreement signed in 2001. Norway has over the years also given support to both parties in terms of capacity building and workshops on normalization processes.