Philippine president to issue guidelines on peace talks with MILF

16:33, September 04, 2010      

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Philippine President Benigno Aquino III is expected to issue this week "memorandum guidelines" for the new government panel that will resume peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after Ramadan, Chief Peace Adviser Teresita Deles said on Saturday.

Deles said in an interview with a state-run radio station that the government is also busy organizing the advisory board to the peace process, to include representatives from the Legislative, retired Supreme Court Justices, and even former chief peace negotiators.

Deles confirmed that the government "will be ready after the Ramadan" to resume peace negotiations with the MILF, but is just " formalizing the third party facilitator" which will still be Malaysia.

Deles said President Aquino wants the creation of an advisory body for government panels negotiating with the MILF and also the National Democratic Front (NDF).

She said that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte will be requested to designate representatives to sit in the advisory body.

"Our peace process should be as transparent as possible and will be accountable. Our panels would not go on 'solo flight'," she said.

Deles said that government panel that will deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country's largest rebel group, is virtually complete, adding the last member is undergoing validating process before being publicly named.

Deles said that the Aquino administration wants to seal peace deals with rebel groups during its term.

Peace talks between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels are likely to resume after the Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The negotiation might start at the end of September or early October due to Malaysia's week-long celebration of Eid'l Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is expected to end between September 10 and 12.

In his state of the nation address in July, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said he is hoping that the peace talks with the MILF would resume after the month-long Ramadan.

The MILF said earlier the government must resolve the problem in Mindanao within the six-year term of Aquino's administration as more of their young fighters are getting radicals and militants.

In 2008, peace talks between the government and the MILF collapsed due to aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, prompting some MILF commanders to stage attacks on civilian communities.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the south.



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