Photo by Ambassador Bill Tweddell
Australian Ambassador Witnesses Historic Signing, Pledges Support to Peace Process
27 March 2014
The Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Bill Tweddell, today reiterated Australia’s support to the peace process after attending the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which took place at Malacanang Palace.
Ambassador Tweddell said, “I am extremely proud to be representing the Australian Government here today, joining with members of the Philippines Government and MILF Peace Panels, President Benigno Aquino III, Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, members of the international community, and fellow members of the Diplomatic Corps, to witness this historic occasion”.
The signing of the Agreement represents the conclusion of a long process of negotiation, which had required the commitment and drive of both parties, Ambassador Tweddell noted.
“All those who have worked so tirelessly to make today’s signing a reality can be duly proud. We commend their commitment to seeing greater peace and security, and greater future prosperity, for the people of the Bangsamoro and the whole of the Philippines.”
Ambassador Tweddell said that as a long-standing friend of the Philippines, and one of the largest bilateral aid donors, Australia recognised that the challenging task of implementing the agreement lay ahead.
“It is critical that this process receive strong support, both within the Philippines and from the international community. That is why Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, in January committed a further $6 million (PhP 240 million) to support the peace process over the next three years and to boost the capacity to implement the Agreement. Australia will continue to work with the Philippines in this process”.
Ambassador Tweddell highlighted the vital role the Congress would now play as it reviewed the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro. Ambassador Tweddell said a stable and prosperous Bangsamoro and Mindanao would send a powerful signal to the region about the ability of the Philippines to solve long-standing challenges.