MILF welcomes new peace panel chief as Philippine reviewing process

UP College of Law dean Marvic Leonen will be the government's chief negotiator in the resumption of peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

MILF welcomes new peace panel chief as Philippine reviewing process

 

The Philippines' new government is reviewing how it plans to negotiate an end to two long-running insurgencies, including the role of foreigners, and expects to hold informal talks with pro-independent Muslims by end-September.

UP College of Law dean Marvic Leonen will be the government's chief negotiator in the resumption of peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), GMA news said.

Since 2001, Malaysia has been hosting talks between the government and MILF, the country's largest pro-independent Muslim group, and has led an international monitoring team since 2004.

Norway and the European Union have agreed to join the monitoring team on the southern island of Mindanao.

Norway also oversees talks between the government and the Maoist National Democratic Front (NDF) to end an insurgency that began in the late 1960s.

"Definitely, we will begin this year," presidential peace adviser Teresita Quintos Deles told foreign correspondents on Friday when asked about resuming negotiations with the MILF to end 40 years of conflict in the south of the Southeast Asian state.

"It's a necessity. This country cannot move along with the conflict with the levels that it had then. This is a national agenda."

Filipino military launched an offensive in Moro region later since August, 2008, when Supreme Court cancelled an agreement, signed between the Philippine government and MILF.

After four decades of armed conflict between the Filipino state and the Moro Muslims, the two parties agreed to sign an agreement that would end battle. However, the supreme court of the Philippine declared the agreement "illegal" on August 4, which caused the conflict to resume.

President Benigno Aquino III has said a secure and sustained peace would help attract foreign investment needed to generate jobs in the country.

MILF welcomes

MILF welcomed the appointment of law professor Marvic Leonen as chief peace negotiator.

"I know him personally. He has the knowledge of the ancestral domain issue and the indigenous people in Mindanao," Mohagher Iqbal, MILF's chief peace negotiator, was quoted as saying.

The Philippines, an archipelagic country located in the western Pacific Ocean, has a population of 90 million people. The population of Muslims is about 12 million. Between the years 1450 and 1515, two Islamic principalities were founded on the islands of Sulu and Mindanao.

Deles said informal negotiations with the 11,000-member MILF could reopen before the end of September after a review of the specific roles of more than a dozen foreign governments and foreign-based nongovernment organisations (NGOs).

"Our review is not yet finished," she said, adding the government wanted clarity on the specific roles and contributions of the foreign states and groups in the peace process.

Aquino has named a law professor as his chief negotiator with the MILF, hoping to tap his expertise on indigenous people's rights, environment and ancestral homeland issues to give the talks new momentum.

The peace talks with both the MILF and NDF have been stop-start and acceptable deals remain elusive, although Deles said the talks with the MILF were more advanced.


 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Temmuz 2010, 12:35
YORUM EKLE