Moro Muslim leader asks for help in Manila talks

Moro Muslim leader on Monday asked for help from Malaysia, saying Manila proposal is far away from accepting.

Moro Muslim leader asks for help in Manila talks

Moro Muslim leader on Monday asked for help from Malaysia, saying Manila proposal is far away from accepting.

Al haj Murad Ebrahim said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had asked Malaysia, which has been hosting talks since 2001, to help move the negotiations forward after they rejected Manila's proposal last month.

The Philippines conditioned they must first lay down their arms and a peace pact was likely years away.

"We feel there is no point of discussion between the two panels," Murad told a news conference at the MILF base on the southern island of Mindanao, confirming Manila's invitation for another round of talks next week in Kuala Lumpur.

"The drafts are too far apart, there was even an impression it was heaven and earth. That is why the necessity for a facilitation in order to have the two positions of the panels nearer each other."

He said further delays in the talks could increase the risks on the entire peace process.

Still, Murad said the ceasefire between government forces and the MILF's guerrilla units would hold for now, saying that while both proposals were far apart, there was a desire for a solution.

The proposal was the first by the government since the Supreme Court in 2008 outlawed another proposed autonomy deal that would have given the MILF control over 700 towns and villages in the south.

An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict, which began in the 1970s.

At an earlier round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, the MILF outlined its demands, including the creation of a "sub state" and the larger share of profits from exploiting the region's resources.

Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2011, 11:38
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