Abaya: GRP, MILF resume formal talks

February 1, 2010 9:27 am 

MANILA, Jan. 31 -– Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle T. Abaya today said formal peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will soon resume following the exchange of draft proposals in Kuala Lumpur.

Abaya hailed the exchange of drafts as “an important first step" that will pave the way for the signing of a peace agreement.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael E. Seguis, chairman of the government peace panel who went to Kuala Lumpur for the exchange of the draft proposals, said the two sides agreed to preserve the previous gains made in the peace process.

During the two-day exploratory talks on Jan. 27-28, the government peace panel, headed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Rafael E. Seguis, and the MILF panel led by Mohagher Iqbal, also agreed to meet again on Feb. 18-19 to discuss the draft texts and identify the next steps towards achieving a comprehensive compact and a negotiated solution to the long-drawn Mindanao armed conflict.

It was the 17th engagement between the government and MILF since formal negotiations broke down in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

The talks under the auspices of the Malaysian facilitator, Datuk Othman bin Abd Razak were also attended by representatives of the International Contact Group (ICG).

The two sides also agreed to review each other’s draft texts with their respective principals, and to consult concerned stakeholders on options of moving the peace process forward, and the deployment of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), including a Civilian Protection Component (CPC) in the coming weeks.

Seguis said following the Jan. 27-28 talks after “a long hiatus from the peace process both sides are about to start discussions on the substantive issues of the negotiations.”

He also clarified that at this point “there is no agreement yet,” adding that “both sides are still in the early stages of discussing each other’s position papers.

Seguis explained that the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) draft is compliant with the Constitution and pertinent laws. It is also guided by the Supreme Court decision on the aborted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). It mostly identifies executive ‘doables’, proposed legislative actions to strengthen regional autonomy, and openness to hear MILF proposals for constitutional change. The GRP draft is clear that discussions that will concern legislative and other policy actions will still be proposals which would be submitted to Congress.”

“There is no mention of any “Bangsa Moro” sub-state in our draft,” he said.

At the same time, Abaya said that “the government is looking forward to the signing of a peace agreement with the MILF before President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term ends on June 30, 2010.”

Abaya explained that “there is only one way to peace and the resolution of conflict — and that is through talking or negotiating. It may be painful and difficult, but in the end, it is the only way forward.”

“Never has history proven that durable peace can be won through violence — of words or war. Talking is not simply for the sake of chatter. It must be seen by both to be just — or fair, honest, and sincere. But when people are hurt and angry, they are detached from these values.”

She stressed that “genuine talk then is a profound process of intent mutual listening and understanding, where people in conflict become reunited to their values and the good in them, and then take responsibility for their actions and decisions.”

“This is why talking with them is important and giving them the space to express their anguish and be understood for their needs behind their hurts. This eventually leads to a lasting and just peace,” she said. (PNA)

DCT/RBC/rsm

Comments

Comments are closed.

Bad Behavior has blocked 19852 access attempts in the last 7 days.