Moro Muslims want end to army attacks as Philippines 'ready' for talks

Kuala Lumpur is the intermediary in the negotiations between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Moro Muslims want end to army attacks as Philippines 'ready' for talks
Moro Muslims want peace guarantee and an end to army attacks as the Philippines says it is ready to resume peace talks with the country's largest Muslim group.

The government's chief peace negotiator said on Wednesday he was instructed by the president to go to Malaysia next week.

Kuala Lumpur is the intermediary in the negotiations between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A deal in August 2008 on Muslim autonomous region on the southern Mindanao island was stopped by the Supreme Court.

"We will go to Malaysia to talk with facilitators who will formally inform the MILF (about the resumption of talks)," Rafael Seguis, an undersecretary at the foreign ministry and head of the government's new peace panel talking with Muslims, told reporters.

Seguis said he was instructed by President Glorial Macapagal Arroyo to convey Manila's "desire to pursue peace" in the Muslim south and to resume talks.

He said the peace panel would leave for Kuala Lumpur after a new peace policy, outlining the government's strategy in dealing with Muslims and other stakeholders in the south, was presented to Arroyo's cabinet next Tuesday.

"Stop attacks"

Mohaqher Iqbal, the chief negotiator, told Reuters the MILF would only agree to resume talks if an army offensive in Muslim areas is stopped and a third country would guarantee any agreement with Manila would be carried out.

"We have communicated our position to the Malaysians," Iqbal said. "We still have to see what the other side would offer to restart the talks. We're open to negotiations."



Agencies
Last Mod: 15 Ocak 2009, 11:39
Add Comment