Philippine gov't welcomes MILF announcement of not seeking for independent state

17:20, September 23, 2010      

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The Philippine government welcomed on Thursday the statement made by the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that it will no longer seek for an independent Islamic state.

Government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen, in a text message to reporters, said that the administration will listen to the proposal of the Moro rebels.

"We welcome the announcement of the MILF that they are no longer demanding an independent state. This will definitely pave the way to finding an understanding for politically feasible arrangement that maintains the territorial integrity and the fundamental premise of people's sovereignty in one republic," he said.

"We will listen to their proposals and are willing to work with them to find a just, comprehensive and lasting peace," he added.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier said that the MILF, which has been waging war for almost three decades already, will not push anymore for an independent state.

Instead he said the group will seek for the establishment of a sub-state in the southern region of Mindanao as part of the final peace agreement or comprehensive compact.

He explained that under the sub-state, the Moro people will have control on all aspects, except on four aspects: national defense, foreign affairs, currency and coinage, as well as postal services.

The MILF, the largest anti-government group in the Philippines, has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. Peace talks between the government and the MILF remain stalled since August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

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