Moro Muslims say Philippine offers 'nothing new' in talks

Muslims say Philippine government offered "nothing new" in talks, while the country prefers to label it "enhanced autonomy" to Moro region.

Moro Muslims say Philippine offers 'nothing new' in talks

Muslims say Philippine government offered "nothing new" in talks, while the country prefers to label it "enhanced autonomy" to Moro region.

The offer was made in Malaysia last week when Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and government panels met in Kuala Lumpur in the first formal peace talks since 2008.

The government's chief negotiator said Monday the Philippines has offered Muslim locals "enhanced autonomy" in the hope of sealing a peace accord."

However, in a statement issued at the weekend, MILF said that the government "had nothing new to offer", and as a result, they had decided last week to discontinue the latest round of negotiations.

But, the MILF also confirmed that peace talks were to resume in Kuala Lumpur on February 18.

Annabelle Abaya said, "in enhanced autonomy, the president is offering to share powers."

Abaya also said, "President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not pressuring her negotiators to forge a peace agreement with MILF before her term ends on June 30."

So-called power-sharing would cover such areas as tax collection and the control of natural resources in areas of the south that Muslims claim as their ancestral domain.

Abaya stressed that the fresh government offer did not seek to "fractionalise" the country and would not require amendments to the constitution.

The MILF demands an autonomous government that would still be part of the Philippine republic.
Both sides agreed to a truce in July, opening the way for resumption of talks.

Peace deal collapsed after the Supreme Court ruling halted it in August 2008. The outlawed proposed deal would have given the MILF control over large areas of the south.

Earlier, Muslim group said it hoped to sign a deal by April next year over the homeland

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. Islam came to the Philippines in the 13th century 200 years before Christianity did.


Agencies

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2010, 14:42
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