Philippine gov't hopes MILF won't set precondition for peace talks

16:21, August 10, 2010      

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The Philippine government hopes that the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will not make the removal of the American troops in Mindanao as a precondition in pursuing the peace process.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Tuesday the government is not setting up a precondition for the peace process to push through.

"We hope that they will not make the US presence as a precondition (for the peace talks to proceed)," Lacierda said in a press briefing.

MILF chairman Ibrahim Murad, in a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Monday, said that the U.S. troops' presence in Mindanao complicates the situation in the area. He said there was no agenda for the about 500 American soldiers to remain in southern Philippines and he accused them of just justifying their presence in the area for terrorist elements.

Lacierda reiterated the government's commitment of pushing for the peace talks.

He said that as what President Benigno S. Aquino III had promised in his State of the Nation Address, the peace talks between the government and the MILF will begin after Ramadan.

Source: Xinhua


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