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» 12/02/2008 15:36
PHILIPPINES
Philippines, foreign affairs undersecretary appointed to dialogue with MILF
by Santosh Digal
Rafael Seguis, with a long diplomatic career behind him, will be in charge of resuming peace negotiations with the rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Relations were broken off last September 3, following the failure to sign the Memorandum of Agreement. During the week for peace in Mindanao, Christian and Muslim leaders are visiting churches and mosques.

Manila (AsiaNews) - The Filipino government has appointed a new representative for peace discussions with the rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Filling this delicate role will be the current foreign affairs undersecretary for special concerns, Rafael Seguis, personally selected by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The committee charged with resuming peace talks with the Islamic militants is made up of the newly appointed representative and four other members, whose names have not yet been made public. It is the first time that a diplomat still in service will fulfill this kind of delicate role, but the situation of tension and the sudden interruption of peace negotiations has prompted the government to select a figure of unquestioned competence.

Rafael Seguis (in the photo, on the right) has a long career behind him: he was the Filipino ambassador to Indonesia, East Timor, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, and Jordan. He has participated in various conferences organized by Islamic movements, and is seen as "highly qualified." The appointment of the other four members of the committee should be announced - according to government sources - within two weeks.

The Filipino government says that the leaders of the MILF appreciate the appointment of Rafael Seguis as head of the negotiations. "We are happy to learn," says Eduardo Ermita, executive secretary of the government, "that the MILF appreciates the appointment of Seguis to head the peace committee." It is a sign of hope in the peace talks, suddenly cut off last September 3 after the controversy following the failure to sign the Memorandum of Agreement that would have led to the creation of an autonomous Muslim majority region in Mindanao.

In the meantime, events continue for the week for peace in Mindanao, which ends tomorrow, December 3. In recent days, religious and secular leaders and the faithful have promoted a gesture full of significance in order to foster interreligious dialogue: the Christians, priests and laity, have visited the local mosque, while the Muslims have reciprocated by visiting the Christian church. In an open letter, the Muslim leaders have also emphasized that "if Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace."


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See also
12/29/2008 PHILIPPINES
Bishops: optimism over resumption of dialogue between government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front
by Santosh Digal
11/11/2008 PHILIPPINES - VATICAN
Pope prays for Mindanao's Muslims
by Santosh Digal
09/03/2008 PHILIPPINES
Philippines: Arroyo scraps peace agreement and excludes MILF from negotiating table
by Santosh Digal
06/02/2005 PHILIPPINES
Peace between Moro rebels and government near
09/04/2009 PHILIPPINES
More education for the young and less politicking are the path to peace in Mindanao
by Santosh Digal

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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