Timor Leste's Jose Ramos Horta arrives in Manila

www.gmanews.tv, 14 January 2009


MANILA, Philippines - Timor Leste president Jose Ramos Horta arrived in the country before dawn Wednesday for a series of lectures and speaking engagements on peace and freedom.

Radio dzBB reported that Ramos Horta arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport aboard a Philippine Airlines flight at 3:45 a.m.

Among those welcoming him was Ambassador Fernando Peña.

Ramos Horta was to head for Davao for speaking engagements and return to Manila Wednesday night. He will have speaking engagements in Manila on Thursday.

In Davao City, meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said security measures are all set for the arrival of Ramos Horta.

The CBCP website said Ramos Horta, a 1996 Nobel Laureate for Peace, will give a lecture on "Is Long Lasting Peace an Attainable Dream?" at the Ateneo de Davao University at 2:30 p.m.

The lecture is open to the public and will be held at the Finster Hall Auditorium, Jacinto Campus.

Meanwhile, the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID), a peace group based in Mindanao, asked the help of Ramos Horta in the attainment of peace in Mindanao.

IID executive director Gus Miclatsaid the works of Ramos Horta are commendable especially in his unwavering work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in then East Timor.

"Horta can very well complement the already exemplary work of Malaysia in seeing through the peace process. He did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing and his signal prestige and wisdom plus his impartiality can provide the stalled talks new whiff of energy and perhaps the corridor to an eventual agreement," added Miclat.

IID has been initiating calls for more political involvement of other international actors in the peace process.

In a consultation with a European Union delegation in Cotabato last month, IID pushed for the EU to go beyond its concern for the humanitarian crisis spawned by large-scale skirmishes in the aftermath of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain debacle.

"IID has particularly called on the EU to join the International Monitoring Team (IMT) or also help guarantee or facilitate the peace process. The calls have since been echoed by other civil society groups in Mindanao," added Miclat. - GMANews.TV