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Nobel peace laureate in Philippines to support peace talks between gov’t, MILF

/ 11:50 AM November 19, 2012

Moro Islamic Liberation Front . INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CAMP DARAPAN, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao—Nobel peace prize laureate Lord William David Trimble said giving up violence and tackling problems peacefully through democratic means would be keys to lasting chief in Mindanao.

“The giving up of violence permanently and commitment to tackling their problems and pursuing their objectives peacefully through democratic means are important if the people want to achieve peace,” Trimble told the Philippine Daily Inquirer shortly after a closed door meeting with Ghadzali Jaafar, the political affairs chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) here on Saturday.

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Trimble became involved with the right-wing, paramilitary-linked Vanguard Progressive Unionist Party (known as Vanguard) in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.

He later joined the Ulster Unionist Party and was among those credited for the Good Friday agreement, the peace deal that ended the unrest in Northern Ireland.

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Trimble arrived in the Philippines last week, saying he would lend his support to the framework agreement entered into by the Philippine government and the MILF.

“I am very delighted with the framework agreement,” he said, adding that from experience, a peace pact was not an easy thing to achieve.

“In our experience it was difficult to get an agreement but which we did get, but we found out that the implementation of the agreement is challenging,” Trimble said, adding “that sometimes the challenges were not the ones we anticipated before.”

Trimble said the MILF understood that unforeseen challenges or problems could surface along the way but that for the rebel group, the agreement would be the first step towards lasting peace.

Trimble said the MILF also told him that the development of the Bangsamoro (Muslims) people, who have long been marginalized due to the conflict, should be made among the priorities in the aftermath of the agreement.

“That is something that should be tackled, creating opportunities and giving people the skill to enable them to prosper,” he said.

Jaafar told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a separate interview that the agreement has indeed “boosted the morale of the Bangsamoro (Moro nation)” and has led to the silencing of guns.

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While a lot of challenges lie ahead, the MILF is willing to confront them, according to Jaafar.

“We are ready,” he said.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, Global Nation, Government, Lord William David Trimble, MILF, Mindanao, Peace Process, Philippines
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