Palace happy over resumption of Mindanao Peace talks

July 29, 2009 9:32 am 

MANILA, July 29 -– Malacañang said on Wednesday they are happy over the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Panels in Malaysia.

This was jointly stated by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Press Secretary Cerge Remonde shortly before they left for the United States with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this afternoon.

Reports reaching Malacañang said that under the auspices of the Government of Malaysia, the chairmen of the GRP and the MILF Peace Panels, Ambassador Rafael E. Seguis and Mohagher Iqbal, met and re-established official contact to complete the preparation for the resumption of the peace talks.

The meeting reestablished the formal contact between the two sides, after almost a year of impasse in the peace negotiations.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Bong Montesa said in a statement that the two-day special meeting was cordial and ended on a high note, with both parties expressing their common desire to restore trust and confidence in addressing major issues that will pave the way for the early resumption of the stalled peace negotiations.

A Joint Statement affirmed both sides’ commitment to sustain the Government’s Suspension of Military Offensives (SOMO) and the MILF’s Suspension of Military Actions (SOMA).

It also acknowledged the draft Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) as an initialed and yet, unsigned document with both parties agreeing to reframe the consensus points and move towards a final peace agreement.

In their Joint Statement, both parties also agreed to work for frameworks that will establish a mechanism designed to protect non-combatants in armed conflict.

Both parties also agreed to establish an International Contact Group (ICG) of states and non-state organizations that will accompany and mobilize international support for the peace process.

The GRP Panel chairman took serious note of the concern of the MILF on the implication of the exclusion from the SOMO of some MILF commanders tagged as “rogues” by the Government.

“While we are happy that the Talks are back on track, the challenge to bring a durable peace in Mindanao remains. Let us not waver in our commitment and resolve to finish the task,” said Montesa. (PNA) scs/JCA

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