GRP, MILF express desire to resume peace talks

August 17, 2009 1:54 pm 

SULTAN NAGA DIMAPORO, Lanao Del Norte, Aug. 17 — The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel are one in their common desire to resume the stalled negotiations.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Avelino Razon made this assessment following the meeting last July 29 between GRP peace panel chairman Rafael Seguis and MILF chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

“In their two-day meeting, both chairmen expressed a common desire to resolve the preliminary issues so that actual negotiations can resume without delay,” Razon said in an interview here this morning.

He said they are now awaiting the final points of the meeting because both panel are working on the terms of references for the purpose of resuming the peace talks.

No less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has expressed elation over the positive development, a result of the back channeling efforts of the government to convince Moro rebels to return to the negotiating table and resolve the continuing armed conflict in Southern Philippines.

“I am happy that this is their sentiment. Once and for all mareresolba na ang problema ng evacuees,” the President said during regional media interview here.

“I am satisfied with the way the pieces are falling together. I hope that the Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO) and Suspension of Military Actions (SOMA) hold, so that those displaced by the conflict, Muslims and Christians alike, can return to their homes and pick up the pieces of their lives,” she pointed out.

On July 23, the government issued a SOMO. The MILF reciprocated with its own SOMA two days later.

The President said that the long-term protection of the civilian population takes precedence over any issue and both panels are working to conclude an agreement that will protect non-combatants.

On the National Democratic Front (NDF), Razon said the GRP and the NDF peace panel through the efforts of the Royal Norwegian Government as a Third-Party Facilitator are in constant communication to ensure that preparations for the resumption of negotiations are in place.

He said the NDF has expressed interest in pursuing discussions that will possibly lead to the cessation of hostilities.

“If we can reach an agreement on the matter, then there is a good possibility that we can at last attain a just and lasting peace,” Razon said. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

Comments

Comments are closed.