Manila, MILF agree to continue peace negotiations

21:38, June 03, 2010      

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As the peace talks between Manila and secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo came to close, the two sides signed an agreement on Thursday to continue peace negotiations under the new administration.

The two-page declaration, signed in Malaysia, discussed points of consensus on an interim agreement for a "comprehensive compact" on negotiated political settlement.

"Today, we put closure to this stage of the peace negotiations with a clear statement by both parties that we will preserve our gains and accomplishments, and work our best for the continuation of the talks. We give honor to our past, and anticipate the future with great hope," Government of the Republic of the Philippines panel chair Rafael Seguis said in a statement.

The declaration, which will provide a smooth transition to the next administration, is a "retrospective affirmation of our accomplishments and a recapitulation of our past discussions as we toiled to come up with an agreement," he added.

Under the document, both parties have agreed to work on previous gains as foundation for future negotiations under the new administration.

In the declaration, the government and the MILF acknowledged that they needed "new formulas that will permanently respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Bangsamoro people for just peace, freedom founded on parity of esteem, equal treatment for their identity, ethos, and rights and for the Bangsamoro as a whole to exercise self-governance on the basis of consent in accordance with an agreed framework which shall be negotiated and adopted by the parties."

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