Friday, July 20, 2012

Malaysian facilitator optimistic on peace talks in Philippines

The Malaysian official acting as the facilitator in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has expressed optimism that both sides are nearing the signing of a final peace pact.

In a statement today, the Office of the Philippine Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, quoting Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato' Ghafar Tengku bin Mohamed, said that the GPH and the MILF are "closer to the vision of the final peace agreement."

"However, we feel there are a lot of work to be done. One thing is - we are moving very fast. I think that is important. The spirit of the whole final agreement is understood by both parties, " Ghafar said.

The GPH and the MILF just concluded the three-day 29th formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur where both parties expressed confidence of wrapping up their discussions on mechanisms toward realizing the new autonomous political entity (NPE) to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The NPE is one of the 10 common standpoints indicated in the Decision Points on Principles signed by the panels in April.

Both sides also agreed to resume the formal talks in August to continue discussing the substantive issues, which include power- sharing and other related matters.-The Philippine Star (July 2012, 2012)

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