Thursday, November 22, 2012

Leonen confident comprehensive peace agreement with MILF to be completed by December

From the Website of OPPAP

Leonen confident comprehensive peace agreement with MILF to be completed by December

  • Printer-friendly version
  • Share
Posted on Sunday, 18 November, 2012 - 09:42

Chief government peace negotiator Marvic Leonen today said he remained confident that the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would be able to complete the three annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) by the end of the year even as the 33rd GPH-MILF Formal Exploratory Talks closed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In a joint closing statement, Leonen and his counterpart, MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, said the latest round of talks in Malaysia “ended in a positive note.”

“The 33rd round of Formal Exploratory Talks between the negotiating panels of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held in Kuala Lumpur on November 12-17, 2012 ended on a positive note,” the joint statement said.

“The Panels and their Technical Working Groups (TWGs) made substantial progress in crafting the annexes on Power-sharing and Wealth-sharing. The TWG on Normalization was convened for the first time. Its members agreed on an outline of issues and had initial positive exchanges on these matters, “ the statement added. “The Panels and their respective TWGs will meet again in December to continue working on the three annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. They remain committed to complete the annexes before the end of the year.”

In an interview, Leonen said the peace negotiators were able “to end a day early because of the substantial movement in the crafting of the annexes through the efficiency of the three TWGs,” emphasizing that the working groups reached "substantial common points."
In his closing statement, Leonen expressed his optimism on the progress of the process, saying that “there may seem to be many points that are left to the draft annexes produced by our TWGs.”

“But I have confidence that it can be resolved,” he added.

Iqbal, in his own closing statement, shared Leonen’s positive view: “I know everybody exerted their utmost efforts and have managed to settle many things. But the remaining issues are still so many and very hard but with determination and commitment of both parties, I think we will be able to overcome a lot of issues.”

During the closing ceremonies, Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato' Abd Ghafar Tengku Mohammed said he was hopeful the two panels would be able to finish their assigned tasks very soon.

“I don’t want the rhythm, the tempo and the support that the people have given to the government, the MILF, and the FAB to stop,” Tengku said.

Leonen explained that the FAB were not mere words contained in a document.
“It is a history of struggle, the struggle of the Bangsamoro people. And this struggle was continued in the negotiating table,” he pointed out. “The negotiations are now more than a decade. And that each word, each period, each comma contained in the Framework Agreement has saved a life in the future.”

Leonen noted that both parties were determined to “finish the comprehensive agreement, the annexes, as soon as possible before the deadline this 2012.”
“I know that we will succeed and I know that there will be a consensus on the annexes because I have seen the sincerity of the Republic of the Philippines, the sincerity of this administration. That sincerity is seen in the fact that most of its most important individuals have been sent in these negotiations,” Leonen noted.

The Philippine government has tapped representatives from various agencies including the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Security Council, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process among others to help in the negotiations.

After the signing of the FAB last October 15, the two Parties agreed to meet again to craft the annexes that will comprise the Comprehensive Agreement. Leonen said the current TWGs isolated their differences as they identified common points and worked on their reports which they submitted to the government and MILF panels. 

“Negotiations are always exciting - you can see how ideas developed. As of this round, there are still some issues up for discussion and which needs consultation with our principals,” Leonen said during the interview. “We will present these annexes to the public once we are finished.”

What helped moved the discussions on the annexes forward were the continuous and overwhelming support from verious sectors in the country and from the international community, Leonen said. 

“The ground has been stable. The spirit of volunteerism coming from different sectors is very strong. There has been a lot of goodwill, especially coming from the various agencies involved.” 

The two Parties are set to meet again this December to finalize the text of the annexes.
“I look forward to our next meeting in December that we would be able to produce annexes on power sharing and wealth sharing and we could cover a substantial part of normalization. I think we will be able to achieve many things on the three issues at hand,” Iqbal said in his closing statement. 

“We’re past the major issues but there are still adjustments to be made concerning the details. Both parties know of the decision points needed. Both parties have publicly and officially committed to finish within the year,” Leonen said.



Bible Lights Promotions - Home