Manila offers ARMM to MILF; direct talks cut short in KL
Friday, January 29, 2010 10:13:57 AM

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 29, 2010) – Peace representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines have conducted a brief negotiation Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur.

After exchanging drafts on the proposed Comprehensive Compact Agreement, they returned to their respective hotels to scrutinize each other’s proposal with the understanding to return the next day for consideration.

The MILF Peace Panel, finding that the GRP’s draft had nothing new to offer, decided not to meet its counterpart. Instead, the MILF peace panel requested for a special meeting with the Malaysian facilitator and members of the International Contact Group to explain the position they have taken.

“The GRP draft essentially offers the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” says Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of MILF negotiating panel, adding that “this offer was done in April of 2000 and repeated in February of 2003, just before the attack on the MILF Buliok complex in North Cotabato province.

The Seguis-led GRP negotiating panel submitted a 17-page document while the MILF’s was 37 pages.

Asked about his comment, MILF lawyer Michael Mastura commented off-hand that, “the GRP Draft is practically an enabling legislation piece.” It was learned from Iqbal later that this GRP approach deviated from what was agreed during the Agenda Setting Session in the previous GRP-MILF special meeting on December 8 and 9, 2009.

Among those commonly agreed items that the GRP lawyer Camilo Montesa summed up are: 1) Identity and citizenship, 2) Governance structure, 3) Security arrangements, 4) Wealth-sharing, natural resources and property rights, 5) Restorative justice and reconciliation, 6) Implementation arrangements, and 7) Independent Monitoring.

But Mastura also pointed out that, except for Item 5, the MILF agreed to prepare a Draft as outlined earlier. However, he clarified that “the MILF stresses Transitional justice and reconciliation rather than Restorative justice.”

The meeting opened with the statements from the Malaysian facilitator, Seguis, Iqbal, and some members of the ICG. After this, drafts were exchanged.

A chance interview with three other members of the MILF peace panel, Maulana Alonto, lawyer Abdul Dataya, and Antonio Kinoc, revealed that the MILF draft adhered to the general outline agreed during the Agenda Setting Session.

He said the two drafts have wide divergence that have no point of convergence, adding that the GRP draft’s derogation of prior agreements is not a positive response to sustain confidence building measures.

According to Jun Mantawil, head of the MILF Peace Panel Secretariat, “the meeting on Thursday) was supposed to be the deliberation session.” But in place of the normal “face-to-face deliberation” between the two panels, “proximate meetings” took place, thereby the Malaysian facilitator Datuk Othman bin Abd Razakand an ICG representative shuttled between the two sides.

Meanwhile, a more positive development is the announcement of the Malaysian facilitator that the deployment of the International Monitoring Team is under way before the end of February 2010.

The parties agreed to meet again on February 18 and 19 to discuss the draft texts and identify the next steps for the purpose of achieving a comprehensive compact and a negotiated solution.

According to Datuk Othman, the parties also agreed to preserve previous gains made in the peace process and to review each other draft with their respective principals and to consult concerned stakeholders on options of moving forward.

The GRP peace panel is composed of Seguis, Agrarian Secretary Nasser Pangandamen, Dr. Ronald Adamat, Atty. Tony Laviña, and Atty. Mariano Sarmiento. Director Ryan Mark Sullivan and Zoilo Velasco composed the GRP Peace Panel Secretariat.

The representatives of the ICG were Hitoshi Ozawa and Yoshihisa Ishikawa, Minister and First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Manila respectively; Ambassador Boyd McCleary, British High Commissioner to Malaysia and Christopher Wright, Second Secretary, British Embassy in Manila; Yasin Temizkan, Chargé d’ Affaires, Embassy of Turkey in Kuala Lumpur.

The INGO members who attended were David Gorman, Mediation Adviser of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC); The Asia Foundation’s(TAF) Dr. Steven Rood, Country Representative for the Philippines; Herizal Hazri, Program Director in Malaysia, and Thomas Parks, Regional Director for Governance and Conflict based in Thailand; Cynthia Petrigh, Advisor on Peace Process, Conciliation Resources; and Dr. Din Syamsuddin, President of Muhammadiyah accompanied by an adviser, Surwandono. (Binhamen Madany)

Sumber: http://mindanaoexaminer.com/news.php?news_id=20100128211357