Misuari to engage in separate Philippine peace talks

Government says peace discussions separate from those taking place with MILF to be held with fugitive leader’s MNLF faction

Misuari to engage in separate Philippine peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines government is to hold separate talks with a fugitive Moro leader who heads an armed faction opposed to a peace agreement with the country’s largest Muslim rebel outfit in an effort to bring a combined peace to the Muslim south.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza said in a statement Thursday that discussions with Moro National Liberation (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari would be conducted separately from those with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and another MNLF faction which has reached consensus with the MILF for an “inclusive” autonomy law for the region.

"[Talks] will work on the completion of the remaining commitments under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement and the recently-concluded Tripartite Review Process on the said peace deal between the government, the MNLF, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [OIC]," Dureza said.

President Rodrigo Duterte wants Misuari to play an integral part in his plan to consolidate present and past peace agreements with all Moro groups in an effort to end a decades-old conflict in which around 100,000 people have died.

The Misuari faction has accused the previous government of abrogating final 1996 peace agreements with the MNLF when it held negotiations with the MILF, which led to the creation of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The MILF agreement is still to be completed, however, having been shelved for the 2016 presidential election, which saw Duterte swept to power.

Dureza said Thursday that Misuari has opted not to take part in a body tasked with drafting a new autonomy law, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), which was newly reconstituted to include 11 members nominated by the MILF and another 10 nominated by the government.

“Chairman Nur Misuari has principled position since the BTC is a mechanism of the CAB,” Dureza said, referring to the MILF's agreement.

He added that Misuari has not abandoned his 1996 agreement.

Both the Misuari panel and the BTC will submit their respective proposals on an enabling law for the majority Muslim region of Mindanao to lawmakers, who will aim to reconcile them.

“The convergence will take place in the Congress -- the Congress will craft one Bangsamoro law for all of us. We will trust the Congress to reconcile these differences, if any,” Dureza said.

Misuari has a warrant -- temporarily suspended -- out for his arrest on charges of rebellion after a 2013 siege on Zamboanga City he is accused of orchestrating left 200 dead and more than 100,000 people displaced.

The warrant, however, was suspended, to allow him to meet Duterte and take part in the peace process.

Misuari is suspected of having started the siege in protest at the framework for the present deal with the MILF.

Last Mod: 10 Kasım 2016, 11:54
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