MILF negotiator sees final annex for peace deal signed soon | Inquirer News

MILF negotiator sees final annex for peace deal signed soon

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 05:37 PM January 24, 2014

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The chief negotiator of the Moro secessionist group in peace talks with the government expects that the final annex to the blueprint of a comprehensive peace agreement would be signed either on Saturday or Sunday.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told reporters here on Friday that negotiations on the normalization annex were “still very hard” but was optimistic about reaching an agreement with the government soon.

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“We are close and we are closing in on the final point. I hope that would happen either tomorrow or the next day,” Iqbal said.

For his part, President Benigno Aquino III’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, who is observing the negotiations here, said there was “guarded optimism that hopefully, by this round the annex would be completed.”

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“Everybody looks forward to this round of talks with hope. I can say that for someone who has observed the past three annex exploratory talks, this is lighter than the other two,” Lacierda said, referring to the negotiations on the documents on power sharing and wealth-sharing.

While the laying down of arms is always expected to be a delicate matter, Lacierda said, the preparatory talks carried out by the technical working group for the normalization annex have tackled “a lot of issues” that led to a smoother discussion as it reached the government and MILF negotiating panels.

Iqbal agreed with Lacierda’s observation.

“That is true because after finishing all the three annexes, first the FAB (Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro) which is very difficult plus the three annexes. And you know the most difficult part was the annex on power sharing because it’s about power. As soon as we settled on power sharing, I think the mood was to overcome any obstacle on the way and we are seeing it now. There is much confidence, there is much trust and there is so much accommodation by both parties,” Iqbal said.

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TAGS: Government, MILF peace agreement, Mindanao peace process, Politics
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