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House of Lords written question – answered on 6th June 2011.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the progress of the International Contact Group towards resolving the conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Philippines; what the annual budget of the group is; how much the United Kingdom has contributed to the group in terms of cash or personnel; and how long they expect the group will have to continue working.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

The International Contact Group (ICG) continues to support the resolution of the conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines as the peace talks continue.

The UK is one of four state members of the ICG. The ICG consists of four impartial states and a number of non-state organisations and was set up to complement the Malaysian facilitation of the peace process and to offer impartial advice and international oversight to both sides. The Government of the Philippines and MILF signed an accord on 15 September 2009 to form the ICG. This accord was one of the three accords required for official peace talks to proceed.

Both peace panels have expressed their ongoing support for the work of the ICG, and have thanked UK for its involvement. Both sides have reiterated that the role of the ICG should continue to be as a support mechanism and a validation of the process. The ICG does not act as a facilitator.

The ICG has no budget. ICG members are responsible for finding the resources necessary for their individual commitments. Membership does not entail any commitment of additional funding for project work or development assistance.

We have no personnel working exclusively on the ICG. Where invited by the Facilitator and peace panels, a UK official attends each session of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur. This is either a Kuala Lumpur based diplomat or a Manila based diplomat. There have been two rounds of talks so far in 2011. The UK contributes no cash funding to the ICG.

ICG members may review their commitment as appropriate. Further, when a final peace agreement is reached, the ICG, Facilitator, MILF and Government of the Philippines should review its role and membership.

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