EU dangles carrot to Filipino separatists

The European Union will pour 12 million euros ($14.5 million) in development aid into the southern Philippine island of Mindanao if Muslims separatists there stop fighting.

    MILF has already been offered incentive by the US

    EU envoy to the Philippines Jan de Kok on Tuesday said the European Union would participate in a World Bank-led multi-donor trust fund, aimed at financing rehabilitation and development in areas of Mindanao hurt by the 30-year conflict.

       

    "We want a peace agreement, a sustainable peace and not just a piece of paper signed and very little happens after that," he told foreign journalists, urging both sides to hasten the peace process because the money might not be there after

    2005.

       

    "So we need to make some progress in the peace negotiations."

     

    Multi-donor trust fund

       

    De Kok said the multi-donor trust fund would be made available as soon as government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest of four home-grown Muslim armed groups, signed a peace agreement.

       

    Government and Muslim negotiators belonging to the separatist groups are due to resume formal peace negotiations later this month in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur after a two-year break.

       

    The United States is already offering $30 million in aid for MILF areas if the rebels sign a peace deal.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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