GPH-MILF 41st talks end with ‘substantial’ progress on power sharing, normalization PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 October 2013 11:44

The 41st exploratory talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, ended Sunday with “substantial” progress on the remaining Annexes on power sharing and normalization.

In a joint statement emailed to the Philippines News Agency, both panels said “they have proceeded in exhaustive, honest discussions in order to identify the best formulations for an agreement that would respond to the aspirations of both parties.”

The statement said that the remaining challenges and the time constraints demand that both panels remain focused on completing the annexes following a break for Eid’Ul’Adha.

“Both sides have a full understanding of their responsibility as they strive towards a sustainable and inclusive solution for the benefit of all people in the Bangsamoro,” it noted.

The GPH and MILF peace negotiating panels expressed their appreciation to President Benigno S. Aquino III “for his unwavering commitment to a just and lasting peace in Mindanao,” and to Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak “ for his continued support in the facilitation of the GPH-MILF peace talks.”

Both parties also thanked the members of the MILF Central Committee headed by Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim “for their untiring commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Bangsamoro Question.”

They also extend their gratitude to the members of the International Contact Group (ICG) — Japan, the United Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Turkey, the United Kingdom, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Conciliation Resources, Muhammadiyah and the Community of Sant’ Egidio.

The GPH and MILF peace panels started Tuesday the 41st exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where both sides were optimistic to reach a consensus on power-sharing and normalization — the last two annexes to be added to the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB).

GPH chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer earlier said she is certain of an accord with MILF that would empower Mindanao’s Moro communities and benefit all sectors, regardless of tribes, religions and cultural identities.

A completed FAB shall be the basis for an enabling law to legitimize the replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with an MILF-led Bangsamoro self-governing political entity.

Coronel-Ferrer said they have spent considerable time in the crafting of the four annexes to the FAB - transitional arrangements; wealth partitions; power sharing; and normalization - to ensure that the framework for a lasting peace in the south will be supported by all sectors.

Muhaquer Iqbal, chairman of the MILF peace panel, for his part, said they are also hoping that the final peace pact will benefit the communities in all of the areas they want to group together under a Bangsamoro political entity.

Peace talks between the GPH and the MILF started January 7, 1997, but gained headway only in recent years with the participation of Malaysia as third party facilitator, and with the help of foreign peace advocacy outfits and international donor organizations.