Gov’t. determined to pursue peace deal in Mindanao

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Wednesday assured her government’s resolve to broker peace in the strife-torn southern Philippines, citing that it has “taken heavy political risks” to achieve lasting peace in the region, as she also encouraged fellow NAM member-states to pursue interfaith dialogue to promote peace and development globally.

But the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said it is not likely to sign a peace deal with President Arroyo, who is to step down in May when her term ends, Ghazali Jaafar, the MILF’s deputy chieftain, said.

Speaking before the 123 foreign and local delegates participating in the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development (SNAMMM), including 83 foreign ministers from the influential group, Mrs. Arroyo laid down her government’s relentless peacekeeping initiatives in the South, as she noted that interfaith dialogue has been substantial element to the Mindanao peace process.

President Arroyo explained that her government is not just resorting into military solution in addressing armed conflict in Mindanao, but also sticking with “a solution of dialogue, a solution of community development, a solution of talking peace.”

Jaafar said there is not enough time to strike a final peace deal with the present dispensation, but he expressed optimism the next president will honor all agreement signed under the outgoing leadership. (PIA-Bohol)

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