Talks with MILF not moving fast enough, says chief gov’t negotiator

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04:27 PM January 12th, 2012

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January 12th, 2012 04:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines—The negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were moving forward but not at the pace the government would want them to, the head of the government  panel said after the close of the 24th “formal exploratory talks” with MILF negotiators on Wednesday.

“The government was earnest in moving towards the crafting of a peace agreement. That would have been the best move forward for both panels,” Leonen said in a statement released at Malacañang on Thursday. He expressed concern over “the very slight movement in the negotiations.”

In a joint statement, the GRP and MILF panels said the latest round of talks in Kuala Lumpur paved the way for “constructive discussions on substantive issues.”

“Among the issues initially discussed were the concept of governance and the listing of reserved powers of the National Government, as contained in their respective drafts,” read the joint statement signed by Leonen and his counterpart in the MILF, Mohagher Iqbal.

“Both Parties clarified their positions, tentatively identified areas of common ground and agreed to consult with their principals on outstanding issues. They also considered drafting road maps towards a resolution of the Bangsamoro question,” the joint statement added.

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