Philippines wants accord with rebels

2012-01-09 19:31

Manila - A Philippine negotiator urged the country's largest Muslim rebel group on Monday to forge a peace accord within three months despite a recent major clash with government troops.

Chief government negotiator Marvic Leonen expressed optimism about a possible accord as talks resumed on Monday with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia, which has been helping broker the years long negotiations. The 11 000-strong group has been waging a rebellion for Muslim self-rule.

Leonen said an early agreement will allow both sides to implement it and make adjustments before reformist President Benigno Aquino III ends his term in 2016.

"In our reckoning, the golden opportunity to craft such an agreement is this first quarter of this year," Leonen said in a statement at the talks' resumption. "We think that this is possible."

Leonen did not say what sparked his optimism.

Moro rebel Vice Chair Ghazali Jaafar said the guerrillas shared the government's optimism but added that any accord should be strong enough to draw wide acceptance and discourage other rebellions.

Jaafar, who was not present in the negotiations in Malaysia, speculated that both sides may be starting to overcome differences on a rebel demand for the formation of a so-called Bangsamoro State Government to administer a Muslim autonomous region.

Aquino met Muslim rebel chief Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo in August last year to discuss ways of bringing the negotiations forward. Rebel negotiators, however, rejected a government proposal for Muslim autonomy a few weeks later but said they would continue talks.

An October 18 clash killed 19 soldiers and six guerrillas on southern Basilan island. The heavy military loss led to calls for Aquino to break a truce and order an offensive against the rebels. He rejected the calls and decided to pursue talks.

Read more on:    benigno aquino iii  |  philippines  |  religion

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.