Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/11/06MANILA4802.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MANILA4802 2006-11-22 09:26 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
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DE RUEHML #4802/01 3260926
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O 220926Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4044
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004802

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP, EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/17/2016
TAGS: PREL PINS MY RP
SUBJECT: ADVANCING THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT PEACE PROCESS WITH THE MILF

REF: MANILA 4656

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. In a wide-ranging 90 minute meeting with
nine senior members of the MILF Central Committee at their
headquarters, DCM described USG comprehensive support for the
Mindanao peace process and commitment to assist former
combatants in the event of a peace agreement. Central
Committee members unequivically confirmed MILF’ commitment to
the peace negotiations, despite “inaccurate rumors” of plans
for violence, calling the government “our partner” in the
peace process. They welcomed US assistance inside MILF
territory, acknowledging the need for security. DCM
underscored that all terrorists must be brought to justice,
while acknowlegding the MILF role in evicting leading
terrorists from Central Mindanao in 2005. The MILF said they
were studying the government’s latest peace proposal, and
requested US intercession against the government’s insistence
on a plebiscite for determining additional territories for an
expanded autonomous region, citing a lack confidence in
government-run elections. They also sought US help with
certain local leaders whom they believe are undermining the
peace process. DCM recognized Malaysia’s role as facilitator
for the peace negotiations, adding that the US wanted to be
as supportive as possible. Somewhat surprisingly, the MILF
briefed national media on the meeting, accurately describing
our mutual support for the peace process. The President’s
spokesperson welcomed increased USG involvement in the peace
process, which he said President Arroyo requested of
President Bush during their meeting at APEC. Clearly, our
diplomacy in the peace process is gaining traction with both
the MILF and the government, complementing our extensive
development and defense engagement. End Summary.

¶2. (C) In a meeting at the Sultan Kudarat headquarters of
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on November 16, DCM,
accompanied by Pol/C and poloff, described to nine senior
members of the MILF Central Committee the USG’s full support
for the overall peace process now underway throughout
Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago as well as for the peace
talks between the Philippine Government and the MILF under
Malaysian mediation. He described the active USG assistance
programs to enhance peace and prosperity for all the peoples
of Mindanao (for a full description of our strategy to build
peace in Mindanao, see reftel) and left a map detailing
USAID’s robust developmental, health, education, energy, and
other programs in the region. He urged that the MILF, as
well as the Philippine Government, continue to pursue a peace
accord that will lead to even greater zones of peace in which
the USG and other foreign donors may help the peoples of
Mindanao. He noted disturbing reports of the continued
presence in MILF areas of individuals with links to Jemaal
Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf Group, and urged the MILF
leadership to ensure that all MILF elements sever ties with
terrorists and turn them over to the Philippine authorities.

¶3. (C) Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghazali Jaafar
welcomed U.S. assistance and reiterated the MILF desire for
peace. He described the end result of peace negotiations as
a Bangsamoro Judicial Entity that promoted peace, tolerance,
and diversity through a competitive democratic process. He
welcomed the constructive mission of the Malaysian-led
International Monitoring Team, and suggested that the IMT
might continue to play a helpful role after the signing of a
peace accord. He also highlighted the useful work of the Ad
Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), and expressed a desire that
its counter-terrorism, counter-crime joint mission might
expand to include the Sulu Archipelago. He acknowledge the
importance of ensuring that no ASG or JI terrorists operate
in MILF territory.

¶4. (C) Jaafar said that the Central Committee continued to
study the latest Philippine proposal, but indicated that the
real concern now was less about the number of villages and
towns to include and more about the Philippine insistence on
holding a plebiscite to approve any additional territories of
an eventual Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. He said that the
main problem was that Philippine elections were not free and
fair, and the MILF had doubts about the fairness of such a
plebiscite. He urged the USG to urge President Arroyo and
the Philippine Government to consider other options, such as
a joint Senate/House resolution or an Executive Agreement
subject to Senate ratification in order to sidestep the need
for a controversial and possibly biased plebiscite. He noted
that the MILF usually instructed its personnel to boycott
elections because they do not believe they are conducted

MANILA 00004802 002 OF 002

fairly.

¶5. (C) MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal indicated
that another key stumbling block on the territorial issue is
that the MILF claimed sea as well as land territory, to which
the Philippine Government had yet to agree, as well as the
island of Palawan in the West Sulu Sea, based on historical
claims and the 1976 Tripoli Agreement (which established the
basis of the peace agreement with the MNLF).

¶6. (C) Jaafar insisted that the MILF did not anticipate a
true breakdown of the peace talks and was not preparing for a
return to fighting. DCM asked how the MILF was publicizing
its continued support of the peace process and negotiations.
Jaafar said that the MILF leadership regularly invited its
commanders and other local leaders to MILF headquarters to
hear this message and to reiterate the MILF commitment to the
peace process.

¶7. (SBU) Joining Jaafar and Iqbal were: Jun Mantawil – Head
of the MILF Peace Panel Secretariat; Muhammad Ameen –
Chairman of the MILF Secretariat; Omar Pasigan – Head of the
Darul Ifta; Khalifa Nando – Chairman of the Majlis Al-Shura;
Muhammad Muntasir – Head of the Da’wah Council; Abu Haliya –
Member of Finance Committee; and, (FNU) Salic – Member of
Trade/Commerce Committee.

¶8. (C) Comment: This third Embassy meeting with MILF
leadership clearly generated increased interest and
expressions of a desire to work with us. Coupled with the
President’s frequent comments supporting more active USG
involvement, our diplomacy is gaining traction. We are
confident that the peace process is alive and well, but note
the conspicuous absence from our meeting of MILF Vice
Chairman for Military Affairs Mimbantes, who is the Central
Committee member actually in contact with local commanders.
The government’s chief negotiator has offered to brief us on
his latest peace proposal, and we will report shortly. We
will continue to involve all USG agencies in our efforts to
translate our influence into a durable peace that excludes
terrorists from Mindanao.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

KENNEY

   

 

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