KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has reiterated that its involvement in the Bangsamoro peace process is at the request of the Philippine government and the main rebel group in the troubled region.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, responding to critics questioning Malaysia’s involvement said that the government’s policy was that peace and stability in Mindanao would be good not only for the Philippines but also for Asean.
“Our involvement is at the request by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” Anifah said in an emailed response to questions by The Star.
Reports in the Philippine media in the run-up to the 26th Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur have questioned Malaysia’s motives in acting as the mediator in the peace process.
The Manila Times in a report on April 20 accused Malaysia of interfering in Philippine affairs and of harbouring ulterior motives in its involvement in the peace process.
Malaysia, which has brokered the peace process since 2001, has hosted more than 40 rounds of talks between the Philippine government and MILF.
In March last year, a comprehensive peace agreement was signed by the two parties in Manila but the peace deal has since run into problems after a deadly clash in Mindanao in January which left 35 police commandos dead.
Anifah said Malaysia remained committed to maintain peace and stability in the area while the respective parties continue working for a positive outcome for the peace process.
“Malaysia is ready to assist in the capacity building process of the Bangsamoro people to prepare them towards the eventual establishment of a Bangsamoro political entity by 2016,” said Anifah.
Malaysia’s involvement, said Anifah, comes from a genuine desire to ensure that peace prevails in the region.
“For us, peace and stability in Mindanao will serve the interests of the Philippines and contribute to the promotion of peace and development for the South-East Asia region.”
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