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Typhoon won't stop peace process - Gerry Kelly

3 October, 2011 - by Gerry Kelly

Speaking from Abu Dhabi airport as he awaited his flight to the Philippines, Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said that although this is the second typhoon to hit the Philippines in recent days he is determined to take part, for the third time, in this hugely significant peace process.

“I intend to meet with the highest levels of the Philippines government and leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front again on this visit. When engaging in these international peace processes our role is to relate our own experience from Ireland, but not to draw direct comparisons as each conflict has its own unique historical context.

“My previous visits to the Philippines were exhausting but hopefully of some limited value for both parties as we now once again see talks resuming.

“We learned that keeping our eyes on the goal and working through the multiple barriers that faced us, took us out of conflict and now the Irish peace process is viewed internationally as one of the world’s most successful examples of conflict resolution.

“I'm hopeful that both parties to these renewed talks in the Philippines can avoid some of the pitfalls we encountered and emerge from this most devastating and protracted conflict.

“Using some limited influence I had established from these engagements I lobbied for the release of kidnapped Irish priest Fr Sinnott who was held close to the stronghold of the MILF. I want to take this opportunity to warmly thank local people for the efforts they made at that time which resulted in his release.”

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