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Aquino expects final peace pact with MILF soon

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12:09 PM September 9th, 2012

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September 9th, 2012 12:09 PM

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

RUSSKIY ISLAND,  VLADIVOSTOK, Russia –President Benigno Aquino III is confident of signing a peace agreement with Muslim rebels in the next few months with Malaysia’s leader, whose government was brokering the talks  between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), keen on attending the event.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that in a bilateral meeting with Malaysia Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak this Sunday morning, the President conveyed his “expectation that the peace process could be finalized in the next couple of months.”

“In that event, the Prime Minister of Malaysia had expressed the desire to be present at the signing,” said del Rosario.

Del Rosario said the President thanked Razak for Malaysia’s “continuing leadership” as a peace facilitator and praised how effective Malaysia’s brokering of the peace talks.

“He’s (Razak) been described as an honest broker and very proactive,” said del Rosario.

Last Saturday, the Philippine peace panel of negotiation successfully ended  four days of  exploratory talks with the MILF in Kuala Lumpur. Philippine chief negotiator Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal reported in a joint statement that they “reached substantive gains in the negotiations” through the facilitation of Malaysia.”

Aside from Malaysia’s key role in the peace talks, del Rosario said Malaysia has also reiterated its support  to the Philippines’ position for a regional stand on the territorial dispute with China on islands straddling the West Philippine Sea border.`

`There was a very good discussion on how to be constructive in terms of addressing the challenge of the West Philippine Sea and I think, what was decided on that the code of conduct would be encouraged in terms of finalization and then we will  to try to move this forward,” said del Rosario.

The President and Razak also discussed trade issues to enhance the traffic of goods between the Philippine and Malaysia.

After Malaysia, the President also met with the Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang where the two discussed their mutual interest on China’s alarming moves to take control of islands beyond its borders.

“It was a very good meeting. It was a renewal of the deep friendship between our two countries and the common challenges that we face in terms of the disputes in the West Philippine Sea,” said del Rosario.

“We are looking at initiatives to be able to cooperate more closely with each other in terms of dealing with the challenge that faced both of us. Vietnam has been a partner of the Philippines,” he added.

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