MILF urges Philippine gov't to raise counter-proposal in August

09:06, June 29, 2011      

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The rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator urged on Tuesday the Philippine governmental peace panel to finally "makeout its counter-proposal without further delay" in the August meeting.

The government of the Philippines and MILF have agreed to reset the formal peace talks during the first week of August after holding an informal meeting on Monday in Malaysia.

The government panel, led by Marvic Leonen, was supposed to submit its counter-proposal of the comprehensive political compact on Monday's meeting.

"The deferment of the submission of its counter-proposal was requested by the government, which asked for more time to finalize its own draft, in the light of developing situations in the peace process which government wants factored into the counter-proposal it promised to submit to the MILF in the next round of talks," said Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel.

While the government deferred the submission of its counter- proposal, Leonen said both parties considered the meeting on Monday as productive.

He said that the government and the MILF were able to "level off on important points to facilitate the talks."

The MILF has been fighting Philippine 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 stalled in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. A final peace deal will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group's 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters.

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