UN calls for Tripoli Agreement implementation

Published by rudy Date posted on March 18, 2010

A high-ranking United Nations (UN) official has called for the implementation of the 1996 Tripoli Agreement between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF), and a possible consolidation of the two-decade old pact with future peace agreements that will be entered into by Manila.

UN General Assembly President Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki was referring to the Final Agreement on the Implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement between the Philippines and the MNLF that was reached on September 2, 1996, which establishes a Special Zone of Peace and Development in Southern Philippines (SZOPAD) covering the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Palawan and the cities of Cotabato, Dapitan, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Marawi, Pagadian, Zamboanga and Puerto Princesa.

These areas, according to the agreement, will be the focus of intensive peace and development effort and will be the recipient of public and private investments to spur economic activities and uplift the conditions of the people there.

The SZOPAD became the basis for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and former MNLF leader Nur Misuari became the region’s first governor. Misuari was removed from office in 2001 and was arrested in 2007 on rebellion charges. He was later allowed to post bail and was released.

“It is already a good agreement [Tripoli Agreement]. We already made it in the past. They just need to implement it faithfully and consolidate it with whatever future agreements,” Treki told reporters.

Peace talks with MILF

The Philippines is negotiating a peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the breakaway group of the MNLF. The Philippine government and the MILF peace panels met in Kuala Lumpur on December 8 last year for the first time in 17 months to renew their call for the resumption of the stalled peace talks, following the aborted signing of a controversial memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain that was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

During the lull in the peace talks, both parties continued their back-channeling efforts to revive the peace negotiations.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo assured that the Philippines will further deepen its engagement with the UN in key areas that will advance the common interests of like-minded countries and address issues of the developing world.

In his meeting with Treki at the sidelines of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue for Peace and Development held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila, Romulo stressed the importance of “continuing work and cooperation between and among the world’s stakeholders” on nuclear non-proliferation, world economic and financial reform, climate change and UN reform.

“There is much work to be done at the United Nations. As we work on interfaith dialogue as an instrument and object of global peace, we also need to work with other stakeholders in ensuring greater peace, progress and prosperity for all the world’s peoples,” he said after the meeting. –LLANESCA T. PANTI Reporter, Manila Times

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