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Peace talks between Philippines, MILF end with no agreements 

ARMM-Guvs-KL

The five governors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Sakur Tan, of Sulu province; Jum Akbar, of Basilan; Esmael Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao; Sadikul Sahali, of Tawi-Tawi; and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur – pose for posterity in Kuala Lumpur after attending the three-day peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. 

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / May 30, 2012) – Peace talks between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels ended on Wednesday in Malaysia with no significant agreements.

But both sides said they would continue the talks and further refine their respective positions on substantive agenda.

Filipino peace negotiators headed by Marvic Leonen and Mohagher Iqbal, of the MILF, held talks for three days that centered on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, governance, geographical areas, among others which are part of the 10 Decision Points on Principles signed they last month.

It served as a guide on the substantive issues of the negotiations, including the proposal to create a new Muslim autonomous region that would replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) comprising of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao and Maguindanao provinces.

Leonen said that he is “comfortable” with how the talks ended. “The talks have been difficult, but we were able to build on what has been achieved in last month’s round of peace talks,” he said in a statement released late Wednesday from Malaysia, which is brokering the peace talks.

He said the peace negotiations are conducted within the framework of the Constitution and the principle of “consent of the governed.”

“The government’s peace negotiations with the MILF are guided by the President’s directive to work within the flexibilities of the Constitution; learn from the lessons and experiences of the past administrations; deliver viable political, economic, and social commitments in a peace agreement; and the principles of transparency and inclusivity,” he said.

Leonen said they also discussed in the peace talks the results of the public consultations they conducted this month in Mindanao. “There were highs and lows in our discussions,” he said without further elaborating.

Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan, who along with other ARMM governors, attended the peace talks, said they are supporting government’s peace process in Mindanao.

“Our position is one. We want meaningful autonomy under the Constitution,” he said in a separate statement.

“We aim to uphold democracy. Even in ARMM they say democratize governance,” he said, adding they recognize the primacy of the peace process and the need to “accompany its political process.”

Tan and his group – Jum Akbar, of Basilan; Esmael Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao; Sadikul Sahali, of Tawi-Tawi; and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur – were observers in the peace talks.

The MILF, which is fighting for self-determination, said it would not sign any peace deal with Manila unless its demand for a Muslim sub-state is granted by President Benigno Aquino. (Mindanao Examiner)

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