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Focus on realities, British lord advises.

COTABATO -- British House of Lords member and Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble on Thursday met with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles to exchange notes and demonstrate support in resolving the long-standing conflict in the south.

Trimble is in the country for a five-day visit to share experiences and lessons on reaching a peaceful solution in the Northern Ireland strife, through the Good Friday Agreement.

Lawyer Anwar Malang, executive secretary of acting Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said Trimble was scheduled to meet with ARMM officials and civil society organizations Saturday in an "open discussion" on the issue of Northern Ireland's acquired autonomous government setup from the United Kingdom.

"Obviously, there are some parallels between the situation here and the situation in Northern Ireland. There are also considerable differences, one should not focus on the comparisons between the two, but one should focus on the realities of whatever situation we're dealing with," Trimble was quoted in a statement issued by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

Trimble cited the importance of the people's support in ensuring a sustainable and workable peace in the south.

"The people of Northern Ireland, though at times close to despair, never gave up," Trimble said, referring to the three-decade ethno-political conflict in that region of the United Kingdom that had ended with the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Trimble, who was then the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, was considered instrumental in reaching the peace accord.

The OPAPP statement also quoted Trimble as stressing how public support and commitment to the peace process was necessary in transforming the seemingly hopeless situation of Northern Ireland some 30 years ago to an economically prosperous region where people no longer live in fear.

The Good Friday Agreement was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process that ended the bloody conflict in the region in 1998. It established the Northern Ireland Assembly with devolved legislative powers and it reduced violence with the rebels.

The negotiating panels of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where technical panels are working to craft the annexes on normalization, power and wealth-sharing issues toward the establishment of the Bangsamoro.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 18, 2012
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