EU vows continued support for Mindanao peace process

MANILAThe European Union (EU) has reiterated its support for the Mindanao peace process during the launch of Mohagher Iqbal's book retracing the Bangsamoro's challenges to self-determination.

EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen was among the attendees at the launch of the book, "Negotiating Peace: An Insider's Perspective to the Bangsamoros' Struggle for Self-Determination", in Cotabato City on Monday.

In his speech, the envoy congratulated the author as he cited continuous and extended EU initiatives directly supporting the peace process in Mindanao.

Jessen noted that EU has been the biggest contributor to the multi-donor Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) since 2006. He said the bloc provides direct humanitarian assistance to the displaced populations in Marawi affected by the siege in 2017.

"Over the last 10 years, the EU has worked to build a long-lasting relationship with OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), based on mutual trust, and on a transparent and efficient policy dialogue for the success of the peace process," he said.

"The EU remains one of the major foreign development partners to provide comprehensive support to Mindanao and the peace process through an integrated approach supporting directly the political settlement and longer-term economic development of Mindanao," he added.

On the same day, Jessen also signed the Declaration of Intent for the Contract between EU and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS).

"We are also responding to the needs expressed by MILF leaders to contribute to build their capacities, by signing a declaration of intent with CPCS, and we stand ready to further assist in the coming transition period," he said.

Jessen said the EU is "currently assessing" the modalities for deploying a mission on election observation for the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency