Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesia has expressed hope that the preliminary peace agreement reached between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will provide a comprehensive solution to end a decades-long conflict in the southern Philippines.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino announced on Sunday that his government had reached a preliminary peace agreement with the MILF group, saying that the "framework agreement" - a roadmap for a new autonomous region for minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation's south - was an assurance the MILF insurgents would no longer aim to secede from the country.
The two sides reached the deal over the resource-rich region during talks in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
"Indonesia warmly welcomes the statement by President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines on Sunday on the preliminary agreement reached between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to the Jakarta Post yesterday.
The agreement, to be signed on October 15 in Manila, spells out general principles on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory of the Muslim region. If all goes well, a final peace deal could be reached by 2016, when Aquino's six-year term ends.
Indonesia said that the peace deal, as well as the previous peace agreement between the Philippines government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996, reflected the strong commitment to create comprehensive peace in the southern Philippines.
"Peace that involves both the MNLF and the MILF from the Moro community and the government of the Philippines would provide a comprehensive solution to the conflict that over the past four decades has cost many lives and much material loss," the statement said.
Over the past two decades, Indonesia has facilitated the peace process between the Philippine government and the MNLF, and between 1994 and 2002 sent the Garuda Contingent (Konga XVII) under the framework of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) peace process.
An Indonesian observer team is also participating in the International Monitoring Team which has been agreed by the Philippine government and the MILF.