MILF lauds PNoy govt for retaining Malaysia

THE seccessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) yesterday lauded the Aquino administration’s decision to retain Malaysia as the third-party facilitator in the soon-to-resume peace talks.

Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief information officer and former negotiator, said the move will help hasten the resumption of the peace talks, which were stalled in 2008.

“That (Malaysia’s retention) is very good development, it will help facilitate the early resumption of the talks,” Iqbal told defense reporters over phone-patched briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.

The MILF official added: “If you will replace Malaysia as foreign facilitator, it would take some time (and) I think that would hinder the early resumption of the talks and that move is a good develoment.”

Earlier, a ranking government official said President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III thought of replacing Malaysia with Indonesia as facilitator in the peace process between GRP and MILF.

The MILF official clarified that it was not that they were against the Indonesia, adding that retaining Malaysia will facilitate a smoother facilitation of the peace-process.

“Ang problema doon unang-una, wala silang (Indonesia) institutional memory,” Iqbal said.

The MILF official said a change could pose a serious problem.

Iqbal expressed doubts that the peace talks could resume after Ramadan since both parties have yet to complete the composition of their negotiating panels.

Peace talks between the government  and the MILF was stalled in 2008. Anthony Vargas

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