At last, a breakthrough in GPH-MILF peace talks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 13:59

KUALA LUMPUR  – The “stalemate in our ideas for transition,” as Philippine government peace panel (GPH) chair Marvic Leonen described the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF) last month, has been broken.

The two panels finally agreed yesterday on a framework on how to proceed with the 14-month old negotiations after a 90-minute executive session that ended at 11:15 a.m.. the panel chairs and their members emerging from the State Room of the Palace of the Golden Horses with wide grins.

“There will be a signing,” Leonen and MILF chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews separately before returning to the function room at 11:45 a.m. for the formal opening of the talks, the 27th exploratory talks since the 2003 war but the eighth under the Aquino administration.

Leonen and Iqbal declined to provide details of the “decision points on principles,” that they expect to sign today, the first major agreement under the Aquino administration.

A hint of positive outcome in the talks was the arrival at the venue of Philippine ambassador Eduardo Malaya at 11:05 a.m.

A smiling Malaya told MindaNews he was “just passing by.” It was the first time Malaya showed up at the talks venue since the negotiations began in February last year.

Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, the Malaysian facilitator of the talks, confirmed to MindaNews at 12:55 p.m. that “there will be a signing” in a few minutes.

Tengku has been facilitator of the talks since April 27 last year.

The panels broke up for lunch at 1:20 p.m. but panel members from both sides affixed their initials on the document at 12:47 p.m., according to Brig. Gen. Leo Ferrer, senior military adviser of the GPH panel.

Datu Michael Mastura, MILF senior panel member, said all panel members from both sides, except their respective chairs, initialed the document.

Those who initialed for the GPH panel are Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Hamid Barra, Senen Bacani and Bai Yasmin Lao and for the MILF, Mastura, Maulana Alonto, Abdullah Kamlian and Raissa Jajurie for Abhoud Syed Lingga who could not attend today’s talks.

The two panel chairs will formally sign the agreement when they resume session at 2:30 pm. — MindaNews