TEN European Union ambassadors met with top leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabunsuan, to ask why peace negotiations with the government have been stalled.
At the same time, the delegation led by French Amabassador Gerard Chesnel assured the MILF that the EU was committed to contributing economically and politically to the peace process.
Ghazali Jaafar, vice chairman for political affairs of the MILFs central committee, welcomed the offer of help and said he hoped the visit of the EU ambassadors would spur the government into action.
The ball is totally in the hands of the government because the MILF is ready anytime to return to the negotiating table so long as it will based on the consensus and principles [we] both agreed on, he said.
Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel, told the EU ambassadors that both sides must still resolve misunderstandings on ancestral domain.
The government and the MILF were supposed to reduce the 29 consensus points on the issue of ancestral domain into a memorandum of agreement, but that did not happen because the government reneged on its position, Iqbal said.
Peace talks were expected to resume March but did not push through for undisclosed reasons.
'PEACE IS AROUND THE CORNER'
After their talks, Chesnel said he was hopeful that peace was around the corner.
We had the impression that the peace process is not very far from a comprehensive peace agreement, he said.
EU Ambassador Alistair MacDonald said the union had already poured in about 600,000 euros in development assistance focusing on rural and agrarian reform.
Other ambassadors who joined the delegation were Herbert Jager of Austria, Gregoire Vardakis of Belgium, Ritta Resch of Finland, Robert Brinks of The Netherlands, Valeriu Gheorghe of Romania, Luis Arias Romero of Spain, Inger Ultvedt of Sweden, and Peter Beckingham of Britain. French Embassy First Secretary Jean-Louis Bertrand also joined the group.
Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2008, 11:09