Summit between govt. and Muslim rebels 'cancelled'

Talks scheduled for Wednesday between the Filipino government and the Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly been cancelled because of the current tensions in Sulu in the southern Philippines.

Summit between govt. and Muslim rebels 'cancelled'

Talks scheduled for Wednesday between the Filipino government and the Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly been cancelled because of the current tensions in Sulu in the southern Philippines.

A source close to the rebel group told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the two sides were under pressure to reach a solution at the peace summit but the current situation in the south did not allow for the scheduled meeting in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to take place.

"The conflict in Sulu has allowed the hawks to prevail in talks between the two sides," the source told AKI.

According to the source, it was the government that had asked for the talks to be postponed but no new date has been provided.

The meeting in Kuala Lumpur would have been the first since last September, when talks between the government and the MILF broke down over the territory to be inculded in the Bangsamoro Judicial Entity - the name of the proposed area that will come under Muslim administration.

Manila proposed a limit of 613 villages to be included in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which is already in existence. The government also stated that the expansion had to be approved by a referendum.

The MILF, however, called for the inclusion of at least 1,000 villages and were against the idea of a referendum to reclaim the control of the area as their ancestral domain.

Hope was raised when a counter-proposal was made by the government in November and centred on the rights of self-determination for the Moro, the term used to define the Muslims in the Philippines.

However the details of this proposal are not know.

The MILF is the largest Islamic rebel group in the Philippines.

The group, which it says includes about 12,000 armed fighters, has been involved in peace talks with Manila since 2001. A truce was reached in 2003 even though armed clashes between the two sides have been frequent.

The conflict in Mindanao has its roots in the early 1960s. It is believed that more than 120,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

The Muslims, who make up five percent of the 89 million people in the Philippines, have asked for the creation of an independent Muslim state but have also said that they are open to talks on the basis of "concrete" autonomy.

The peace accords between Manila and the MNLF in 1976, 1987 and 1996 led to the creation, expansion and the Muslim control of the ARMM but left many problems unresolved. A section of the Islamic leadership and politicians in Manila consider them a failure.


AKI

Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 15:57
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