Malaysian consul says peace should be acceptable to everybody

Dec. 15, 2008

DAVAO CITYMalaysian Consul Mustafa Kamal urged peace groups to keep working for a peace formula that will be acceptable to everybody after the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) failed to generate support from some sectors in Mindanao.

We were excited about the prospect of the signing of the MOA-AD but whatever formula youll find should be acceptable to everybody, Kamal addressed a peace caravan on Thursday. Peaceful solutions imposed by outsiders can never be sustained, he said.

Kamal said Malaysia has taken keen interest in the peace situation along its borders and had brokered talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

But the failed signing of the MOA-AD that would have granted the MILF authority over territories covered by the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) led to renewed hostilities and the collapse of the talks. Now, Kamal said, Malaysia is pulling out the last of its international monitoring team contingents after the end of the three-month extension in August.

Kamal said Malaysia has been concerned about the peace situation along its borders, referring not only to the border it shared in Mindanao but also that which it shares with Southern Thailand, where sporadic fighting also continues. Were interested in areas surrounding Malaysia because we believe that when your neighbors are on fire, it wont also be long before our house will also catch fire.

But for the peaceful solutions to last, they should have the consensus of everybody and not from outsiders. Kamal wished the peace groups success in their endeavors.

Peace advocates considered the MOA-AD as a breakthrough in the long running quest for a peaceful solution to the Mindanao conflict but leading political clans vehemently opposed to it petitioned the Supreme Court.

Peace groups, like the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, had viewed the MOA-AD as an opening of the long lasting solution to the conflict in Mindanao because it will address some of the historic wrongs that were among the root causes of the conflict. But big political clans in Mindanao, led by North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piol, Iligan City Mayor Lawrence Cruz, and Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat vehemently opposed the agreement filed the petition to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional the MOA-AD. (Germelina Lacorte/Davao Today)

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