Moro Muslims hope Philippine's Aquino to realize peace talks

Moro Muslim group cautiously welcomes the intention of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to resume peace talks, hoping his remarks becoming a reality.

Moro Muslims hope Philippine's Aquino to realize peace talks

Moro Muslim group on Tuesday cautiously welcomes the intention of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to resume peace talks, hoping his remarks becoming a reality.

On Monday Aquino said peace negotiations with the MILF can resume after the Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting which begins on August 11 this year and ends on September 9.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said the biggest Muslim group was eager to resume talks with government as long as they would eventually lead to a political deal granting Muslims self-determination in Muslim south.

Iqbal recalled that Philippines presidents since the late Corazon Aquino had had "kind words" for the peace process.

“We hope President Noynoy will make the difference," he said.

“What he said is a welcome statement, it’s quite definitive that he would resume the peace process,” said Iqbal.

He also said, that "Aquino had appointed a chairman for the government peace panel – University of the Philippines law dean Marvic Leonen – as well as the President’s recognition of MILF efforts “to discipline (and) rein in its own ranks. These are positive statement.”

Iqbal added, the challenge for the President was making his statements a reality “because theory and practice are wide apart…it can be very good statement, but when it comes to concrete efforts that lies the problem.”

"We are more than ready to discuss political solutions with the government," Iqbal said in a phone interview, saying the 11,000-member MILF was still seeking an agreement that grants them an ancestral homeland in the south.

"The government is fully aware of our position to expand the Muslim homeland and getting a much larger share in revenues from strategic resources, such as oil, gas and minerals. There are no changes in our position."

Iqbal said the group would also not agree to replace Malaysia as the third party facilitator as well as scrap past agreements and start fresh negotiations.

After four decades of armed conflict between the Filipino state and the Moro Muslims, the two parties agreed to sign an agreement that would end battle. However, the supreme court of the Philippine declared the agreement "illegal" on August 4, which caused the conflict to resume.

More than 700,000 people were displaced at the height of the fighting, triggering a humanitarian crisis.


Agencies


Related news reports:

MILF welcomes new peace panel chief as Philippine reviewing process

Army sets deadline as Philippines pledges "peace talks"

Philippines to compensate Muslim war victims, resume talks

Last Mod: 27 Temmuz 2010, 16:46
Add Comment