Mindanao groups ask UN to get involved in peace talks

By NASH B. MAUNLANA, Newsbreak

Posted at Oct 27 2008 02:49 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2008 05:07 AM

Davao City--Some 50 Bangsamoro groups last week wrote the United Nations Secretary-General to seek the international body’s intervention “in the soonest possible time” to achieve a long-term resolution to the armed conflict in Mindanao, following the indefinite suspension of peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In a letter dated October 23, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (CBCSO) requested the involvement of the UN Department of Political Affairs “in any event of the resumption of the peace negotiations.”

It was faxed to the UN headquarters in New York during the sixth of a series of consultations among peace advocates held in Davao City.

Guiamel Alim, chair of the CBCSO, said the public can invoke the UN’s mandate to be in partnership with governments and the civil society in the common quest for world peace.

The letter quoted the UN Department of Political Affairs motto that “no task is more fundamental to the United Nations than the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.”

“Towards our collective end of addressing the conflict in the Southern Philippines, we earnestly appeal to the Office of the UN Secretary-General for a continuing support to the Civil Society’s efforts in peace-building, conflict prevention, and transformation,” said the letter signed by organizations from Central and Southern Mindanao.

Earlier this month, in another leg of the peace consultations held in General Santos City, representatives of Moro non-government organization wrote President Arroyo to seek the suspension of military operations against recalcitrant commanders of the MILF in Maguindanao and some parts of Central Mindanao.

Alim made clarifications that their request for the intervention of the UN Department of Political Affairs in case of reopened peace negotiations does not mean less faith in what the international development programs can achieve toward the goal. He said the “timely” intervention has been requested “in addition to existing UN Programs on conflict prevention and transformation.”

The request, if heard, will be considered “the most valuable contribution of the international community to our people’s age-old aspiration for a peace settlement in the Southern Philippines,” the letter said. (Newsbreak)