Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro
|Signed||15 October 2012|
|Location||Malacañan Palace, Manila, Philippines|
|Sealed||15 October 2012|
|Signatories||Moro Islamic Liberation Front|
The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a preliminary peace agreement signed in the Malacañan Palace in Manila, Philippines on 15 October 2012. The Framework Agreement calls for the creation of an autonomous political entity named Bangsamoro, replacing the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which was described by President Benigno Aquino III as "a failed experiment".
Announcement of an Agreement
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippines held peace talks in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from 2–6 October. On 7 October, President Aquino announced that the two parties have agreed to sign a preliminary peace agreement which calls for the creation of an autonoumous political entity named Bangsamoro, superseding the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). He criticized that the ARMM is a "failed experiment" that did not address issues such as electoral fraud, political patronage, poverty, war and warlordism. Aquino claimed that structural reform is necessary, with the creation of Bangsamoro solving these issues while upholding national sovereignty. The agreement was reached after 32 peace talks between the two parties that spanned a period of nine years.
The Philippine government's chief negotiator Marvic Leonen and his Moro Islamic Liberation Front counterpart Mohagher Iqbal signed the agreement on 15 October 2012 in the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacañan Palace in Manila, Philippines. The agreement was sealed at about 15:00 PST. Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, President Aquino, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation were all present at the signing of the agreement.
- Australia – Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr welcomed the development and said the Philippine government's announcement of the agreement "offered hope that the 28-year conflict in Mindanao could be drawing to a close." He particularly acknowledged the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III whom he described as a "strong advocate for peace."
- European Union – EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, in a statement, congratulated the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the successful conclusion of the framework peace agreement. Ashton said the EU also recognized the contributions of the Malaysian facilitator in the peace talks, Tengku Datuk Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, as well as members of the International Contact Group. The EU foreign affairs chief also said "the EU, as a member of the International Monitoring Team and major development partner in poverty alleviation in Mindanao since 1990, will continue to lend its full support."
- Indonesia – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia said that Indonesia "warmly welcomes" the development and described this agreement as well as the previous peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996 as a reflection of the "strong commitment of the Philippine government to create comprehensive peace in the Southern Philippines." It also added that Indonesia "stands ready to provide support and assistance including in exchange of experiences." Indonesia earlier sealed a similar peace agreement with its decades-long secessionist group GAM in Aceh region in 2005.
- Japan – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan said that Japan "heartily welcomes" the Framework Agreement, which it described as the first step towards the realization of the peace process in Mindanao. Japan also pays respect to the Philippines and the MILF, as well as to Malaysia for its role as facilitator. The ministry also added that Japan hopes for the steady implementation of the agreement and expects more difficulties must be overcome to reach a final agreement. Finally, it said that Japan continues to offer full support to the Mindanao Peace Process.
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – The OIC welcomed the preliminary peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The OIC also calls for the full implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement, which the Philippines signed with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
- Thailand - The agreement has been studied by Thailand as a possible framework to help solve its own southern Muslim insurgency.
- Turkey – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey "congratulates the Parties on the constructive attitude they have demonstrated during the dialogue process which has paved the way for this important agreement." It also stated that "Turkey believes in the importance of mediation for the prevention and settlement of conflicts and stands ready to provide support also to the subsequent phases of the Mindanao Peace Process." Turkey is a member of the International Contact Group involved in the peace talks.
- United Kingdom – UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague said the United Kingdom "wholeheartedly welcomes" the framework agreement which he calls a "testament to the commitment and vision of the parties." It also stated that "full implementation of the agreement by 2016 can bring about peace, security, and development which will be good not only for Mindanao, but for the whole of the Philippines." The secretary also reiterated his government's commitment as a member of the International Contact Group for the peace process and said the UK "stands ready to provide further assistance if such a role would be valuable to the parties."
- United States – US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton affirmed that "the United States welcomes the announcement of the framework agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front" and said that the agreement "is a testament to the commitment of all sides for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the southern Philippines". The secretary also added that the next step is for the full implementation of the agreement and "encourage all parties to work together to build peace, prosperity and greater opportunities for all the people of the Philippines".
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