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Bilateral review on MILF talks ‘not possible’–negotiator

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SC ruling on MOA sign of gov’t ‘insincerity’

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:44:00 08/19/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A unilateral plan by government to review closely peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is acceptable but not a “bilateral review,” the head of the MILF peace panel said Tuesday.

At the same time, Mohager Iqbal said the Supreme Court decision to stop the signing of an agreement over ancestral domain between the Arroyo administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front was a sign of “insincerity” by the government.

“They can unilaterally review, but as to a bilateral review, I don’t think that is possible,” said Iqbal when asked for comment on the government’s plan to “very closely review” the status of the MILF talks amid the spate of attacks staged by some members of the Moro rebel group on several provinces in Mindanao.

Iqbal said the ambuscades, which started over the weekend, showed the growing frustration of MILF commanders on the pace of the negotiations that was to have moved forward in Putrajaya, Malaysia earlier this month had the high court not issued a temporary restraining order against the MOA.

“What can be more insincere than what happened in Malaysia,” Iqbal said in a phone interview, adding, “The root of everything happening on the ground is the MOA [memorandum of agreement].”

But at the same time, Iqbal said those who staged attacks in Mindanao would face “disciplinary action,” citing Commander Bravo that led the fighting in several towns in Lanao del Norte.

Asked to describe the status of the talks in view of the TRO and the Mindanao hostilities, Iqbal said: “The situation is very fluid.”

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

TueUTC2008-08-19T08:23:18+00:00UTC08bUTCTue, 19 Aug 2008 08:23:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

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