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Palace: Technical impasse in peace talks not a problem

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03:02 AM December 18th, 2012

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December 18th, 2012 03:02 AM

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda PHOTO/INQUIRER

Malacañang is confident the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be able to overcome the “technical impasse” in the talks on the annexes of a preliminary peace agreement, but can’t say whether a comprehensive agreement could be forged by yearend.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said both panels had made much progress in exploratory talks on the annexes of the Oct. 15 framework agreement signed in Kuala Lumpur even after the impasse claimed by the MILF.

“How the government panel looks at it is that the technical impasse, as the MILF described it, is not insurmountable. In fact, there has been progress made so we don’t see any reason the annexes will not be signed,” Lacierda told a briefing.

The MILF claimed the talks ended in a “technical” impasse after Malaysian facilitator Ghaafar bin Mohamed adjourned the session last Saturday night without a closing program, joint statement or date for the next round of talks.

The MILF peace panel did not push for a joint statement and date for the next round of talks since there were no formal agreements made in the panel or technical working groups.

But it agreed that both parties had made “tremendous gains” on the annexes for power sharing, wealth sharing, modalities and arrangements, and normalization.

The exploratory talks were a follow-through to the Oct. 15 signing of the framework agreement, the blueprint for the establishment of an autonomous Moro homeland called Bangsamoro.

Lacierda said it was up to the government panel, chaired by Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, to set a date for the signing of a comprehensive deal.

“As to the timetable, remember those annexes would still be raised before the principals. So I’m not certain right now if there will be [another meeting set]. I don’t know the schedule of the discussions. There are still ongoing talks and so we will leave it with the panel to give us further statement to that effect,” he said.

On whether or not discussions on the annexes would be completed by yearend, Lacierda said this would depend on their approval by President Aquino and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad.

Lacierda also said questions about who should head the Transition Commission should not be an issue.

“Remember in the Transition Commission Framework Agreement, it is written that the President will appoint seven of the 15—eight will be coming from the MILF,” he said.

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