Philippines' Muslim separatist group deactivates peace panel

13:36, July 02, 2010      

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Philippine separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has temporarily "deactivated" its peace panel as it awaits its counterpart under the Aquino administration, its spokesman said on Friday.

MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim made the decision on Thursday in one of the group's special meetings in Southern Philippines, saying that they will wait for President Benigno Aquino to complete his peace panel members and re-start the negotiation, Muhammad Ameen, Murad's head of secretariat, said.

Its leaders on Friday nonetheless had expressed optimism that peace negotiations under the Aquino administration will prosper, especially after the president made public of his plan to be " sincere in dealing with all peoples of Mindanao" and its " committed to a peaceful and just settlement of conflict, inclusive of the interests of all -- may they be Lumads, Bangsamoro or Christian."

"As far as the (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) is concerned, we remain hopeful that President Benigno Aquino will fulfil his promise of addressing the root cause of Mindanao problem and solving it with a comprehensive peace agreement," MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said.

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