Philippines and Muslim Rebels Sign New Peace Pact

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Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III announced on Sunday that his government had reached a preliminary peace pact with a major rebel group of the country called the prominent Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Reports say the “framework agreement” between the Philippine government with Moro rebels is a roadmap for establishing a new autonomous region to be governed by minority Muslims in the dominated Roman Catholic nation’s south.

The agreement is to be signed on Oct. 15 in Manila. Reports say if things are in place, a final peace deal could be reached by 2016 when President Aquino’s six-year term ends.

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A MILF soldier trains with an M60 machine gun.

In her remarks in Washington DC today, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinto says the United States welcomes the announcement of the framework agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“This agreement is a testament to the commitment of all sides for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the southern Philippines.” -Ms. Clinton

She says the next steps will be to ensure that the framework agreement is fully implemented.

The United States encourages all parties to work together to build peace, prosperity and greater opportunities for all the people of the Philippines.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a Sunni Islamist group located in the southern Philippines where they are most active in the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, Basilan and other neighbouring islands.

Americans and Filipinos are inextricably bound by common values and shared aspirations, including a commitment to democracy and the rule of law, building a robust economic partnership, and deepening people-to-people ties.

The US-Philippines alliance is rooted not just in a deep history of shared democratic values but in a wide range of mutual concerns.

Both countries have discussed bilateral military cooperation.

The US-Philippines alliance has helped keep both of countries secure for more than 60 years, and it has been a bulwark of peace and stability in Asia.

The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all those involved for resolving the various disputes that they encounter, she stressed.

Two countries’ mutual defense treaty has provided for their common defense and helped to create cooperation between their countries, not only military cooperation but also political and economic, and not only between governments but most importantly between their people.

in November 2011, Secretary Clinton stood side-by-side with her Philippine counterpart Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario aboard the USS “Fitzgerald” in Manila Bay to sign the joint Manila Declaration, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.

The Treaty remains the foundation of the bilateral relationship. The Manila Declaration also sets forth a shared vision for strategic, political, economic, and people-to-people cooperation between two nations.

The U.S. government is also working closely with the Philippines to reduce poverty and increase economic prosperity. The U.S. fully supports Philippine efforts to eradicate corruption, to open economic opportunity for all, and to invest in health and education.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.