MILF tones down the violins, warns talks will get tougher

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08:51 PM April 27th, 2012

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April 27th, 2012 08:51 PM

COTABATO CITY, Philippines—Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim has asked the public to tone down its expectations of the peace talks with the government even in light of the recent agreements announced by the two sides.

“The road ahead is more rugged and tricky than what has been achieved so far,” Ebrahim said in a statement released via e-mail to the media here on Thursday.

Ebrahim, who once headed the MILF peace talks panel before becoming head of the rebel group, said “the real test of the success of the talks hinges on the conclusion of agreements on the substantive issues like power-sharing, wealth-sharing, extent of territory of the new Moro entity.”

Mujiv Hataman, acting governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said he could not agree more.

Hataman said that while certain camps spoke of peace, they unwittingly muddled issues and had become part of the problem instead of the solution.

He said the media could help in this aspect by being circumspect about the information they report to the public.

“Some people learn to speak not quite well but ill of others, partly because of leading questions in interviews…. But we should also learn to help build peace even in public statements,” Hataman said.

Ebrahim said that while the breakthrough in the negotiations has restored the MILF’s confidence in the government, people could do more by also praying.

“Pray for more successes of the ongoing peace negotiation in the coming months so that the Moro question and the armed conflict in Mindanao would be finally settled and in order for the whole country to embrace just peace and prosperity,” he said.

The agreements recently signed in Kuala Lumpur include the establishment of a transition mechanism for the expansion of the ARMM’s areas.

“The transition mechanism will translate our political aspirations into pragmatism and how these would lead to the actual empowerment of the Moros to exercise self-governance is part of the larger agenda,” Ebrahim said.

Ebrahim also appealed to the international community, particularly members of the International Contact Group (ICG), to sustain their efforts at maintaining the momentum of the latest round of talks—the 27th session—in Kuala Lumpur.

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