Palace says Malaysian mediator arriving; remains upbeat on talks with MILF

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 September) — The Aquino government has expressed optimism the expected arrival of a Malaysian mediator will help resolve issues besetting the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In a press briefing Tuesday in Malacanang, Secretary Ramon “Ricky” Carandang, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office announced that a Malaysian mediator will soon arrive in the Philippines to help government in its negotiation with the MILF.

“We’re confident that with the arrival of the Malaysian mediator, these issues can be resolved and we can both go back to the negotiating table,” he said.

The Palace also said it was confident an agreement with the MILF would eventually be reached.

The announcement came a day after MILF Chair Al-haj Murad Ebrahim held a press conference in Maguindanao where he said the Front’s Central Committee is “inclined to accept” the recommendation of their negotiating panel to reject government’s peace proposal as a framework of the talks.

Dean Marvic Leonen, chief government negotiator, has earlier proposed a three-in-one framework for the peace negotiations. Among Leonen’s proposal is to reform and enhance the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

But Ebrahim said they need not negotiate with government if the latter will only insist on the “doables because they can do anything and no one can bar them from doing it.”

Carandang said the government will continue to push the peace process forward.

“This issue is not going to be resolved overnight. It will not be resolved because of one meeting—it’s a long process,” Carandang said, adding that “what’s important is that both sides are committed to pursuing these peace talks.”

Murad, in his press conference yesterday, likewise stressed that there has been no deadlock in the negotiations and they are, in fact, preparing a “proposal on how to move forward.”

But he warned that prolonging the talks may lead young idealist Muslims to resort to violence as a way to resolve the Mindanao problem. (MindaNews)

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