Philippine Embassy - Tokyo, Japan > Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Meets GPH and MILF Officials in Tokyo, Affirms Support for Bangsamoro Peace Process

Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Meets GPH and MILF Officials in Tokyo, Affirms Support for Bangsamoro Peace Process

Tokyo, 20 June — Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida strongly reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to peace and development in Mindanao and particularly the Bangsamoro, at his meeting today with Philippine and MILF officials.

The Foreign Minister received MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Bursan-Lao, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez at the sidelines of the Japan-organized “High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation, and Democratization in Asia” at the United Nations University in the Japanese capital.

FM Kishida welcomed the steady progress in the Bangsamoro peace process and the commitment demonstrated by the GPH and MILF. The Foreign Minister reiterated Japan’s resolve to assist the Bangsamoro process and to help spur development in the area to be covered by the new political entity, through initiatives such as J-BIRD Phase II, as pledged by no less than PM Shinzo Abe during his Summit Meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III in Tokyo last 4 June.

Chairman Murad thanked Japan for its role in supporting the process through its membership in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the International Contact Group (ICG). Chairman Murad also cited Japan’s crucial role in bringing together the parties at Narita in August 2011, which he described as the “turning point” that truly spurred the peace negotiations. Chairman Murad acknowledged the clear commitment of President Aquino to seeing the Bangsamoro process through together with urging Congress to support and pass the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

NCMF Secretary Busran-Lao, for her part, also expressed gratitude to Japan, and cited the role of the President’s leadership in galvanizing political support for the Bangsamoro process. She highlighted the beginning of the decommissioning process for MILF weapons and combatants and the parties’ pushing forward with the normalization process, as a testament to the GPH and MILF’s resolve to achieving peace, notwithstanding the challenges that the BBL still needs to overcome. FM Kishida congratulated the parties for this important step, underscoring the great interest of the Japanese people in seeing further progress.

Ambassador Lopez thanked Japan for its reiteration of support to Mindanao, recalling the discussions between President Aquino and PM Abe during the President’s State Visit.

FM Kishida encouraged the GPH and MILF to exercise leadership to sustain the ongoing transition towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro and preserving the gains in the peace process, and thanked Chairman Murad and Secretary Busran-Lao for their visit to Tokyo and their participation as featured speakers and panelists in the Seminar.

Later, Chairman Murad stressed that the MILF is genuinely committed to peace in Mindanao as shown by the decommissioning of weapons last Tuesday that was witnessed by Pres. Aquino. In remarks at the seminar, Chairman Mirad said: “With the manifestation of strong commitment of the President and his allies in the Philippine Government and the support of the international community as well as the peace-loving people both in the country and the world, we are still looking forward to the future of the process as the Philippine, MILF and the international community have invested much efforts and resources in the process.” [Click here for the full text of Chairman Murad’s remarks].

The Seminar featured other high-profile speakers such as former ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.

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