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  • » 06/02/2005, 00.00

    PHILIPPINES

    Peace between Moro rebels and government near



    Cotabato (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Muslim guerrillas in the Philippines are ready to negotiate a peace treaty with the government after decades of separatist struggle in exchange for self-rule in the southern part of the country.

    After a three-day guerrilla assembly, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders said many followers were in favour of a peaceful compromise with the government 

    Rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu said the rebel assembly would be issuing a resolution authorising the guerrilla front to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict.

    MILF's demands concern the southern Mindanao region, where a distinct state with control over basic functions like taxation, development and security, would be set up. The degree of independence of the would-be autonomous state would be a matter to be debated.

    MILF chairman Al-Haj Murad said the guerrilla movement had consulted its followers because the peace talks were entering "the final stretch"".

    Murad stressed that his group would accept any formula that ensured Filipino Muslims the "right to govern themselves, determine their future and enjoy their way of life".

    The presidential adviser on the peace process, Teresita Deles, said the constitution could be amended to satisfy MILF's demands.

    Rebel efforts to secure such grass-roots permission indicate substantial progress in the talks, which have been bolstered by a two-year ceasefire.

    The Filipino government has already offered limited autonomy to another rebel group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), under a 1996 peace agreement. However, the five-province autonomous region governed by the MNLF has remained one of the country's poorest regions.

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    See also

    24/01/2006 PHILIPPINES
    Jailed Jolo Muslim rebel leader to be set free
    Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari will be freed on health grounds. Rebel leader throws his support behind Filipino President Arroyo and is in favour of US troop presence in Jolo.

    24/09/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Mindanao: MILF leader says peace can stop violence among young people
    The founder of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front says he wants peace “to save young Muslims from utter poverty” but still does not trust the pledges of the Filipino government.

    08/08/2005 PHILIPPINES
    Thousands of troops to supervise elections in Mindanao
    There are fears of violence, electoral fraud and Islamic terrorism. Ten suicide bombers from Indonesia might be in the country. Catholic sources warn that no one will be able to vote freely because electoral corruption is too ingrained—many will abstain.

    14/08/2007 PHILIPPINES
    Clashes in the south, Church helping the displaced
    President Arroyo announces peace talks with MILF rebels but launches a major military offensive against other rebel groups. Bishop of Jolo says Church ready to help the population.

    06/07/2009 PHILIPPINES
    Papal appeal, a source of hope for Christians in Cotabato, Cathedral parish priest says
    Clergyman deplores the atmosphere of fear which has made the Christian community worry about more attacks. Benedict XVI’s words during the Angelus are a source of “strength and courage.” MILF rebels conduct a parallel investigation to find attack’s authors.



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