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Manila Wants KL To Oversee Peace Framework
Source: http://www.nst.com.my/nation/general/manila-wants-kl-to-oversee-peace-framework-1.158029
Source Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Country: Malaysia
Created: Oct 16, 2012

MANILA: MALAYSIA will continue playing the facilitator's role to ensure sustainability of the peace deal reached between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.

He said the Philippine government wanted Malaysia to help oversee the process of the framework agreement until it was fully implemented.
He also said the previous peace agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF had failed because there was no team monitoring its implementation.

"So, this time, it is most important to have a third party trusted by both sides to monitor the agreement. It looks like the two sides have confidence in our role," he told Malaysian journalists here.

Najib, on Monday, witnessed the signing of a Malaysia-brokered historic pact -- the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro -- between the Philippine government and MILF to end 40 years of conflict in the southern Philippines.
One of the important aspects Malaysia would have to look into immediately was the demobilisation of the MILF military force to enable the soldiers to return to civilian life.

Najib said Malaysia's role in the demobilisation process would have to be discussed with MILF.

"The MILF military will be demobilised in stages and the process monitored and verified by a third party. Malaysia is the most appropriate party to play that role."

Najib said in his talks with President Benigno Aquino on Monday, Aquino had expressed hope that Malaysia could play a major role in providing training for the young people in southern Philippines who lagged in terms of development because of the almost four decades of conflict there.

He also said MILF chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim had told him during discussions that the biggest challenge was ensuring the benefits were felt by the people in the shortest time possible.

Najib said the Philippine government had also proposed that both countries' armed forces be developed further through a "visiting forces agreement".
Malaysia will be the second country after the United States to come under the arrangement.

He said Malaysia had also envisaged taking part in the land development of the area, adding that this would be discussed at the Joint Commission Meeting, which is headed by the foreign ministers of both countries.

Najib was also hopeful for an improvement in economic cooperation between the two countries because despite growing bilateral trade, investments were small.

He said although it was important to create investment opportunities in southern Philippines, the risk factors must be minimised.

On the resistance by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Najib said it should face the reality and take part in the Bangsamoro development process.

"Eventually, without external support, MNLF will have to come to terms with reality. I am hopeful that eventually they will be on-board the journey towards developing the Bangsamoro region."

On Monday night, at a gathering with the Malaysian community here, Najib said Malaysia would not have been chosen as a facilitator if the country was not harmonious and successful in various aspects.

"If Malaysia was saddled in a conflict, it would not be a model of a harmonious country in terms of diversity.

"We are credible as a nation because we are successful.

"I think people believe this, not only in Malaysia, but also outside Malaysia. They believe that one day Malaysia will be a fully developed nation. That, I think, gives us a lot of credibility."
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