Cordial letters, prayers and a pair of pens for luck.
These were the things that chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and members of the government peace panel brought with them to Kuala Lumpur for the four-day exploratory meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which started last Monday.
President Aquino and MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim recently exchanged letters to “reiterate the commitment of both parties” to the peace negotiations, a source privy to the talks told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
In a statement, Ferrer said the pair of pens were given to her by friends, who were as hopeful as the rest of the panel members that the final peace agreement would soon be signed.
“And we all know on what occasions we have special use of pens. That’s why I have these pens with me in this trip,” Ferrer said.
On the other hand, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles “has called on her prayer warriors” to include the peace negotiations in their novenas and daily masses.
The talks have entered a difficult phase with the MILF expressing its dismay that the government wanted changes in the wealth-sharing annex of the peace agreement even after the document was initialed by the parties’ technical working group last February, not to mention a three-month lull in the negotiations due to the May elections.
MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal had said that the talks were deadlocked because the MILF would not agree to any changes that the government would propose on the wealth sharing annex.
The government has submitted a document containing its proposed changes to the annex before the parties left for Kuala Lumpur, but Iqbal said the MILF would likely stick to what had been signed in February.
The source said that it was Chairman Murad who had first sent a letter to Aquino “due to the delay in the resumption of the talks.”