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Gerry Kelly welcomes Philippines framework peace agreement

8 October, 2012 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has welcomed the conclusion of a peace agreement between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The North Belfast MLA has traveled five times to the Philippines in recent years to assist in the peace negotiations, the latest within the last few weeks.

Gerry Kelly said:

“I welcome this framework peace agreement, which is great news for the people of the Philippines, particularly the Bangsamoro people in their ancestral homelands in the south.

“In my visits to the country I had discussions with both the negotiating teams from the Philippines Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the most recent a few weeks ago at a crucial time in the negotiations.

“I want to congratulate all those involved in reaching the framework peace agreement, which everyone hopes will strengthen the peace and political processes.

“The conflict in the Philippines is estimated to have cost the lives of well over 100,000 and also displaced two million people since it ignited in the 1970s.

“My role was to assist in any way possible by relating the experiences of the peace and political process in Ireland. In the meetings with the Philippines Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front at their camps in Mindanao, they showed great interest in our experience during peace negotiations in Ireland.

 “The Philippines has it's own unique circumstances and political context. There remains substantial work to be done to address wider issues of conflict resolution and national reconciliation but a new and welcome phase of this historical relationship has begun within the Philippines.”

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