Talks with MILF to resume next month—Leonen

Hoping that the Malaysian government would act to address the facilitator dispute,
government negotiators on Tuesday expressed optimism that peace negotiations with the
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will resume next month.

Atty. Marvic Leonen, chair of the government panel for the peace talks with the MILF, said
the third-party facilitator issue needs to be resolved first and they are confident that Malaysia
would address the concerns of both sides.

“We still remain optimistic that talks with the MILF will resume in January. We hope that the
MILF can share that optimism,” Leonen said in a statement.

The government had asked the Malaysian government to replace Datuk Othman bin Abd’
Razak as third-party facilitator because of his alleged pro-MILF bias.

“A politically negotiated settlement is needed at the soonest possible time so that the
energies of all can be channeled to addressing justice, lasting peace, sustainable
development and prosperity for all peoples in Mindanao,’ he continued.

He noted that administrative and security concerns are ongoing and they are prepared to
discuss these with MILF counterparts and vow to continue the series of consultations with
relevant sectors particularly the issues raised by the Moro rebels.

“We think that this is what negotiating in good faith means. It is also the better part of
prudence since issues taken out of context do contribute to environments which can only
foster more violence. We invite all concerned to help us address the problems in the spirit of
finding lasting solutions to a complex problem,” he added. (PIA/PCOO)

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