DIALOGUE IS THE WAY: Reconvene, Resume Peace Talks Now

There is no other path to peace but dialogue.

We welcome the move of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Peace Panels (MILF) to reconvene and reach consensus points on the mechanism on the protection of non combatants in armed conflict, as well as sustain the government’s Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) and the Suspension of Military Action (SOMA) of the MILF.

While it is long overdue, we believe that opening and sustaining the space for dialogue and consensus building will lead to the peaceful resolution of the age old conflict in Mindanao.

The Initiatives for International Dialogue fully support the effort of both the GRP and MILF to sit down and complete the preparation for the resumption of the talks.

We also commit to help out the parties concerned in the establishment of an international contact group to facilitate the peace talks. Together with other civil society partners and friends, we offer our allied networks in the island and the region to accompany this process.

As the Southeast Asia initiator of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC ), a global network of peacebuilders composed of 18 regions worldwide, IID commits to continue its effort to mobilize international support for the peace process in Mindanao.

There is nothing to lose in our effort to forge peace.

Yet we believe that it is high time for both the MILF and the GRP to lay aside their prejudices and biases, to be able to find a common ground for peace to flourish.  We also urge that both parties guard against being outflanked by “spoilers” who may also come from their own ranks or constituencies.

This common ground is the civilian community, in whose name war and peace have been waged for ages.   By putting the interest of the common people in the center of the development efforts, and in the framework of their human rights, we believe that the GRP and the MILF will be able to uphold their protection.  Yet it is not enough that the civilians are protected.  They must fully participate in the peace building process. We re-affirm our commitment to help make this so.

We welcome the commitment of the GRP and the MILF to acknowledge the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which is an expression of the Moro people’s assertion on their right to self determination.

We believe that the effort to reframe the consensus points will bring about a negotiated political settlement to the conflict.

We challenge the GRP and the MILF to take another step towards peace in Mindanao.  Reconvene the peace panels and resume the peace talks now!

*IID is a regional advocacy and solidarity NGO which has been in the forefront of peacebuilding, democratization and self-determination efforts in Mindanao and other parts of Southeast Asia.

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