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Aquino calls for unity in Eid address

President praises role of Muslim minority in efforts towards lasting peace

ucanews.com reporter, Manila
Philippines

August 20, 2012

President Benigno Aquino today urged all Muslims to play an active role in helping to achieve a lasting peace in a speech to mark the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. Addressing close to 10 million Muslims as many headed to mosques on Monday in a country that has seen years of Islamic insurgency, Aquino highlighted what he called “compassion, discipline and solidarity” among Muslim Filipinos who had shown “proactive participation in nation-building.” “The bedrock of a robust society is an empowered citizenry working together for the achievement of lasting peace and meaningful reform, and there is no doubt that our Muslim brothers and sisters contribute greatly to this foundation,” he said. Teresita Quintos Deles, a presidential adviser on peace talks with the largest Islamic separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), called on Muslims to “accompany us” in the next stages of the process. “[Eid al-Fitr] is a time to nurture peace as one becomes stronger and wiser at the heart of struggles, and gentler and more forgiving in the midst of conflict,” she said. After decades of clashes, Aquino held a secret meeting with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim a year ago in Japan, and peace talks are ongoing despite recent clashes involving soldiers that have splintered from the main rebel group. Related reports Government and MILF unite against attacks Govt, Moro rebels open new round of talks General praises state of ceasefire

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