EU officials reiterate commitment to Mindanao peace

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A delegation composed of ambassadors from the European Union affirmed their commitment to peace in Mindanao following a 2-day visit in Cotabato City.

“Our visit to Cotabato City highlights the EU and its member states’ continuing support for the Mindanao peace process and development in the region,” said EU Ambassador Franz Jessen. “Our hopes remain high that the positive gains achieved in the peace process will be sustained despite some challenges, especially as the parties remained engaged and committed to continue their journey to peace.”

The delegation was composed of ambassadors Maria Christina Theresia Derckx of the Netherlands, Franz Jessen of EU, Thomas Ossowski of Germany, Chargés d’Affaires Mihai Sion of Romania, Nigel Boud of the United Kingdom, Deputy Ambassadors Fabio Schina of Italy, Xavier Leblanc of Belgium, Gabrielle Zobl-Kratschmann of Austria, Maria del Carmen Barcia-Bustelo of Spain, and Laurent Legodec of France.

Also joining them were attachés Riccardo Dell’Aquila of Italy, Diego Sanchez of the EU Delegation, and EU Deleation Programme Manager Edoardo Manfredini.

“We shall continue to support the efforts of the parties that recently have been reconfirmed in Kuala Lumpur,” said Jessen. “We are looking forward to supporting the agenda for peace of the next Administration as we carry on our collaborative efforts with all the concerned stakeholders for peace.”

The delegation met with officials of th Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and officials and members of of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Central Committee. The trip also included a consultation with representatives of the international and local humanitarian groups.

Over the years the European Union has adapted its funding programs to the changing needs of the Peace Process.

Last December 2015, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines has launched a new programme in support of the peace process, providing € 5.5 m (Php 275 million) to allow for a smooth transition and to create conditions for the establishment of the autonomous region of the Bangsamoro and the election of its government.

The programme contributes to peace building and conflict mitigation, support the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and strengthen local institutions and political processes. The grants are being channelled through Conciliation Resources; NGOs such as the Non Violent Peace Forces, Fondation Suisse de Deminage, Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung; United Nations Development Programme and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. | Jefry Tupas

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