Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday said the government is close to signing a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Arroyo expressed optimism in a speech that the issue of ancestral domain, a major point of contention in the peace negotiations with the MILF, may soon be resolved, paving the way for a formal peace agreement, Philippine GMA TV reported.
'We are close to a peace agreement with the MILF. I remain optimistic we can overcome the final barriers on ancestral domain so that we can bring finality to the peace,' Arroyo said.
'However, we have achieved a great deal. The region is vastly improved in terms of safety, security and economic growth. So the current agreements are making things better; it will really take off if we achieve lasting peace and the millions of foreign aid promised comes pouring in,' she added.
Earlier this month, President Arroyo said the government is ready to go back to the negotiating table with the MILF, even as a rebel official expressed doubts that a peace agreement will be reached during Arroyo's term.
During the Asia Pacific Economic Forum meeting in Australia, Arroyo and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi agreed to resume the peace negotiations, although no final date has been set for the talks.
Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 16:31