AUSTRALIAN STATEMENT ON RECENT VIOLENCE IN MINDANAO
Australia’s Ambassador, Rod Smith, today expressed Australia’s deep concern about the recent violence in Mindanao and conveyed his sympathy to the families of the victims.
Ambassador Smith commended President Aquino’s commitment to the peace process and rejection of calls to escalate the conflict. He also commended the statement issued by the MILF on 25 October, reaffirming its commitment to the peace process and ceasefire.
“Both President Aquino and the leadership of the MILF have made it clear that the only way forward is the peace process” Ambassador Smith said. “We hope that the leadership of President Aquino and the MILF Central Committee will see calm restored on the ground.”
In discussions with President Aquino and Foreign Secretary del Rosario during his visit to Manila last week, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd reaffirmed Australia’s support for the peace process and commitment to the development of Mindanao.
Australia is one of the largest foreign donors in conflict-affected Mindanao, particularly in basic education.