Peace talks with MILF resume today
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are expected to resume today in Malaysia after being postponed last month.

MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said the agenda of the talks would be the annexes of the Bangsa-moro framework agreement.

“It will push through on April 9 and the agenda is the same,” Jaafar told The STAR in a phone interview yesterday.

“We are optimistic because most of the issues have been settled. Hopefully we can finish the discussions in this meeting,” he added.

The annexes involve matters on wealth and power sharing and normalization.

Jaafar said the recent developments in Sabah, including the supposed regrouping of the Sulu sultanate forces, would not affect the talks.

The 37th round of exploratory talks was supposed to take place last March 25 but the government requested for its postponement.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the President deems it necessary to have more time for review and consultations on the draft annexes.

Both panels are expected to finalize the annexes this month.

MILF chief negotiator and Transition Commission chair Mohagher Iqbal said the annexes could be finished before the May 13 elections.

There were speculations that the postponement was related to the Sabah conflict involving Malaysian forces and the followers of the Sulu sultanate. Malaysia serves as the third party facilitator of the negotiations.

MILF and government negotiators have repeatedly claimed that the peace process is not related to the Sabah conflict.

The government and the MILF signed the Bangsamoro framework agreement last Oct. 15 to pave way for the creation of a new entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The agreement also provided for a Transition Commission that would draft the law creating the Bangsamoro entity. The 15-man body was formed through an executive order issued by President Aquino last December.

The law, which will be certified as urgent by the President, will have to be approved by local residents through a plebiscite.

 

AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO GHADZALI JAAFAR JAAFAR MOHAGHER IQBAL MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT MUSLIM MINDANAO OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER PEACE PROCESS SABAH TRANSITION COMMISSION
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