MILF Peace Talks on Today

By Madale, Asa T. | Manila Bulletin, April 27, 2000 | Go to article overview
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MILF Peace Talks on Today


Madale, Asa T., Manila Bulletin


CAMP BUSRAH, BUTIG, Lanao del Sur -- Despite the continued fighting in Lanao between Muslim separatists and government troops that has forced more than 250,000 residents to evacuate to nearby safe towns, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panels hold their special formal talks today at the Estosan Garden Hotel, Cotabato City, to discuss vital issues and problems affecting the formal peace negotiations between the GRP andMILF panels.

Aleem Abdul Aziz S. Mimbantas, chief MILF peace negotiator, said two major proposed issues for discussion on the assessment and the evaluation of the peace talks between the GRP and the MILF and meetings of the Technical Working Groups will be tackled during the dialogue between him and retired Gen. Edgardo Batenga, chief government negotiator, The outcome of the talks will be included as one of the important topics for the 4th round of formal peace tlks scheduled on May 2, to be held at the Estosan Garden Hotel in Cotabato City.

"I am glad that a special meeting is being held today between government chief negotiator retired Gen. Batenga and the MILF chief negotiator sothat we can come up with a peaceful mutual agreement based on democratic principles to stop the fighting in Lanao," Mimbantas said.

He added, on the part of the MILF, "we like to assure the people of our continued efforts to achieve mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation in finding an acceptable, peaceful, and lasting solution to the armed conflict in Mindanao."

Meanwhile, Dr. Emily M. Marohombsar, government peace panel member, expressed optimism that with the series of meetings of the technical working groups tasked to refine the six talking points submitted by the MILF, there will be positive results leading to the signing of a formal peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

However, Marohombsar said if it's possible, fighting should be stopped with the agreement on the cessation of hostilities signed by both peace panels to help innocent people displaced by the fighting.

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