Moro Muslims vow to resolve internal rift

Moro Muslim group said on Thursday it would resolve issues with a breakaway faction to ensure talks with Philippines government to be respected.

Moro Muslims vow to resolve internal rift

Moro Muslim group said on Thursday it would resolve issues with a breakaway faction to ensure talks with Philippines government to be respected.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) resumed negotiations with the government in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after an eight-month break. After two days of talks, a ceasefire was maintained and the MILF said it would ensure any deal would be respected.

"We had a tough meeting, but there were some progress," MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal, told Reuters on Thursday, saying the two sides discussed the breakaway group of fighters.

"We informed the government of the decision of (a senior field commander) Umbra Kato to form another armed group within the MILF and briefed them on the ongoing dialogue with the new group. We cannot allow any other armed group to operate within the MILF."

Iqbal said Kato, head of the breakaway MILF faction called Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, had only 100 followers, most of whom were not armed.

The number of MILF members is estimated at 11,000.

"We have 99.9 percent support from our field unit commanders," he said.

On Monday, the government's chief negotiator expressed concern over Kato's Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters faction, saying it could put the ceasefire at risk.

Marvic Leonen, the government's chief negotiator, said the two sides would meet again in Kuala Lumpur on March 29 and 30.

The government and MILF agreed on a 12-month extension of a Malaysian-led international monitoring team.

The Muslims also submitted a draft of their proposal to create a Muslim state under the Philippine republic, allowing it broader political and economic powers.

Agencies

 

Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2011, 16:37
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