Gov’t hopeful of accord on Bangsamoro wealth-sharing issue

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06:22 PM July 5th, 2013

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July 5th, 2013 06:22 PM

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. PHOTO FROM OPAPP.GOV.PH

MANILA, Philippines—Government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said Friday the government hopes to complete the wealth sharing annex to the Bangsamoro peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front when the two panels meet anew in Kuala Lumpur next week after a four-month lull in the peace negotiations.

“We’re both very conscious that we do want to finish (the Annex) as soon as possible, that we do need to find compromises to be able to put something in the text and sign on to it,” Coronel-Ferrer said in a statement issued by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

“It’s in this stage that both parties want to come to terms with the remaining issues, specially pertaining to the wealth-sharing annex that has taken a long time to process,” Coronel-Ferrer added.

But in a telephone interview, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told the Inquirer that he could only “hope for the best” during negotiations scheduled to begin on July 8 in Kuala Lumpur.

“The engagement is very difficult. The issues are sticky,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said he had already shown the wealth-sharing annex with the proposed government amendments to the MILF central committee.

“Yes, we looked at the document but basically we are sticking to the original initialed document,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal was referring to the wealth-sharing annex initialed by the technical working group composed of experts from both the government and MILF during the formal talks last February.

But the government reviewed and “exercised due diligence” on the annex, and appeared to want to introduce amendments to the document.

The MILF has consistently said it will not agree to any changes to the initialed annex. Iqbal had said the talks were at a “stalemate.”

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