MILF execs belie peace talks 'intrigues'

Posted at 07/06/2013 10:12 AM | Updated as of 07/06/2013 10:12 AM

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines -- The chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation on Friday dismissed as “intrigues” circulating text messages purporting that the rebel group will stage attacks in the event of a prolonged deadlock in the GPH-MILF talks.

“Those text messages are plain and simple black propaganda against us,” Iqbal told reporters.

Iqbal said he is set to depart for Malaysia on Saturday to lead the MILF’s peace panel in another round of exploratory talks with its government counterpart.

The two panels are facing an impasse on sensitive issues on the wealth-and-power sharing scheme agreement to be added to the October 15, 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB). The FAB serves as the basis for the setting up in 2015 of an MILF-led new self-governing entity replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Iqbal said the MILF has been complying with the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities with the national government.

Maguindanao’s provincial peace and order council (PPOC) also expressed confidence that peace now in the province will continue until the two panels reach a final peace deal. The GPH-MILF talks, which started January 7, 1997, is being assisted by various international non-government organizations and foreign peace advocacy entities.

Habib Guiabar, head of the MILF’s local peace and order monitoring team in North Cotabato, said the text messages about the possible resumption of hostilities as a result of the standoff now in the peace talks could be a "handiwork of a third party” trying to derail the peace process.

Guiabar said there is no truth either to circulating stories that MILF forces are gearing up for attacks during the Ramadhan season. - John Unson