MILF negotiator sees an impasse in peace talks with PH gov’t

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02:18 AM July 12th, 2013

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By: Nikko Dizon, July 12th, 2013 02:18 AM

Mohammad Iqbal INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The peace negotiation between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) face rough sailing in Kuala Lumpur, with no assurance that the MILF would return on Friday to resume talks.

“We’re heading for an impasse,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

This was the same message Iqbal gave the government panel as their meeting adjourned on Thursday.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda are in Kuala Lumpur to reiterate the government’s commitment to the peace negotiations.

The government panel led by chief negotiator Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer has asked for an extension in the talks in Kuala Lumpur to further discuss with the MILF panel the wealth-sharing annex.

However, a source privy to the negotiations said the MILF panel was not certain if it would return to the venue of the talks on Friday to discuss the controversial annex.

“The MILF is still thinking if they would return on Friday. The MILF has nothing to lose. It’s the government that is trying to beat its deadline,” said the source, who requested anonymity for not having been authorized by parties to the peace talks to speak to the media.

Polly Cunanan, spokesperson of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), confirmed that the government requested for another day of negotiations.

The government was hopeful that the wealth-sharing annex would be signed during this current round of talks. The MILF earlier protested the changes the Aquino administration wanted to make in the annex even after the document prepared by the technical working group has been initialed.

The MILF said it would stick to the initialed document.

The OPAPP said on its Facebook account that the technical working groups of the government and the MILF signed the joint report on the normalization annex.

“They agreed to further discuss and find agreeable language in the next meeting,” the OPAPP said.

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