Japan Renews Commitment To Peace In Mindanao

October 31, 2007 at 6:56 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura and Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema. (Abdullah Cusain/Mindanao Examiner Photo)

COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 31, 2007) – Japan on Wednesday renewed its commitment to support the peace process in Mindanao island in the southern Philippines.

Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura flew to Cotabato City and met with the local mayor Muslimin Sema, also the Secretary General of the former Muslim rebel group, Moro National Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in 1996.

Katsura also inaugurated a center that offers women training on mat weaving.

“The Ambassador stressed that they are here to help in peace-building and that their assistance is open to all and not just limited to conflict-affected areas. Ambassador Katsura stated his admiration for the natural wealth of this place and said that it could have been richer if not for the armed conflict,” Sema said.

Katsura was also accompanied by Yasunori Nakayama, the Embassy’s political minister; Yoshihisa Ishikawa, the Embassy’s First Secretary and Nagaishi Masafumi, senior advisor for reconstruction and development of Mindanao program and also a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT).

Manila is currently negotiating peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is fighting the past three decades for the establishment of a strict Islamic state in Mindanao. (Abdullah Cusain)

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