Sep 152014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/10/07MANILA3317.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3317
2007-10-04 09:34
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6365
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3317/01 2770934
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 040934Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8488
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 003317

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT AND MILF NARROW DIFFERENCES ON TERRITORY; KEY ISSUES REMAIN

REF: A. MANILA 3193 (MILF MULLS TERRITORIAL OFFER)
¶B. MANILA 3050 (RESUMPTION OF PEACE TALKS)
¶C. MANILA 2852 (GOVERNMENT/MILF TO HOLD PEACE TALKS)
¶D. MANILA 2838 (GOVERNMENT POSTPONES PEACE TALKS)

Classified By: DCM Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: Philippine government and Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) negotiators narrowed their
differences over territory during a September 26 executive
session in Kuala Lumpur. Nonetheless, key issues remain to
be tackled, including the economic development of MILF
communities outside the territorial boundaries of a new
Muslim-led political entity, MILF maritime claims, and
natural resource revenue sharing. During the months ahead,
the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process
plans to lobby key national and local government leaders for
the creation of a new Muslim-led political entity. In an
apparent strategy to put pressure on the parties, Malaysia
announced an extension of the tour of duty for Malaysian
members of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) for three
months rather than one year, with renewal contingent upon
resumption of exploratory talks before the end of November.
The IMT will be part of a fact-finding mission that will
investigate the September 25 outbreak of fighting on Basilan
between government security forces and the MILF. End Summary.

—————————————-
Some Progress Made on Territorial Issues
—————————————-

¶2. (C) The Philippine Government and Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) reviewed the status of their negotiations on the
contentious issue of territory during question-and-answer and
executive sessions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on September
25-26. Representing the government were Peace Panel Chairman
Lieutenant-General (retired) Rodolfo Garcia, Special Advisor
Silvestre Afable, Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Leah
Armamento, and Peace Negotiations Panel Secretariat Executive
Director Ryan Sullivan. The MILF representatives included
Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal and negotiators Michael
Mastura, Maulana “Bobby” Alonto, and Mike Pasigan.

¶3. (C) Ryan Sullivan said the discussions at the September
26 executive session focused on three aspects of the
territorial issue: expansion of the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), economic development of “special
intervention areas,” and maritime boundaries. According to
Sullivan, nearly all “gaps” were closed on specific
territories to be included within a new Muslim-led political
entity or Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, with exception to MILF
claims over the Sacol Island, east of Zamboanga City; the
Balabac Island, off the coast of southern Palawan; and
several municipalities in provinces contiguous to the ARMM.
Sullivan described “special intervention areas” as Muslim
communities in Mindanao that were located outside the
territorial boundaries of a new Muslim-led political entity.
An economic development plan with provisions for livelihood
assistance to these communities will need to be drafted by
the government to support an MILF peace agreement, commented
Sullivan.

——————————————— ———–
Differences Over Maritime Boundaries and Revenue Sharing
——————————————— ———–

¶4. (C) Sullivan said that the MILF proposed establishing
maritime boundaries for the new Muslim-led political entity
based on international law of the sea, rather than Philippine
national law which limits “municipal waters” to fifteen
kilometers from a coastline. Under this formula, the new
political entity’s maritime domain would cover an area
extending southward from the coastline of Balabac Island,
Palawan to the Sandakan Basin near Tawi-Tawi Province, and
the area between the coastlines of Sacol Island, Zamboanga
and central Mindanao. According to Sullivan, the MILF is
seeking to control most of the revenue from potential
petroleum and natural gas deposits in the Sulu Sea, and the
fishing industry in the Moro Gulf.

¶5. (C) MILF negotiators have “agreed in principle” to allow
existing service contracts for oil and natural gas
exploration to remain valid until their respective dates of
expiration, at which time each contract would be renegotiated
with representatives of a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, said
Sullivan. According to the Philippine National Oil
Corporation, thirteen corporations in the Philippines,
Malaysia, Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States
currently hold shares in oil/natural gas exploration service

MANILA 00003317 002 OF 003

contracts within areas of the Sulu Sea claimed by the MILF.
Included among the owners of the Philippine companies are
family members of influential politicians, including House
Speaker Jose De Venecia, and prominent Filipino-Chinese
businessmen.

¶6. (C) MILF Spokesman and Civil-Military Affairs Chief Eid
Kabalu told poloff on October 3 that revenue sharing from
natural resources was a key issue in the peace talks. In
Kabalu’s view, all existing service contracts for oil/natural
gas/mineral exploration within areas of a prospective
Muslim-led political entity should be canceled until a final
peace agreement is signed.

——————————————— —–
No Congressional Debates Yet, Lobbying for Support
——————————————— —–

¶7. (C) Chairman of the House Committee on Mindanao, Pax
Mangudadatu, told poloff that a debate over the creation of a
new Muslim-led political entity has yet to begin in Congress.
Mangudadatu, a Muslim, expressed his personal support for
the integration of Christian and Muslim communities, but
firmly opposed the inclusion of any territory from his native
province of Sultan Kudarat, which is 90 percent Christian,
within a new Muslim-led political entity. Mangudadatu
believed other Congressmen, as well as leaders of local
government units, in central Mindanao and the Sulu
Archipelago shared his view, though had not focused their
attention on this issue.

¶8. (C) The Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace
Process plans to launch a focused lobbying effort across
political party lines to build support for the creation of a
new Muslim-led political entity in Mindanao, according to
Sullivan. As part of this effort, briefings on the status
of the MILF peace talks would be given to small groups of
Congressmen from the ARMM and provinces contiguous to the
ARMM; the House Committees on Muslim Affairs, Mindanao
Affairs, and Defense; the House Special Committee on Peace,
Unification, and Reconciliation; members of the Senate; and
local government leaders. As MILF peace talks progress, the
briefings would become more frequent and detailed, commented
Sullivan.

¶9. (C) Sullivan noted government and MILF representatives
would also approach individual Congressmen opposed to the
creation of a new Muslim-led political entity to ascertain
the reasons for their opposition, such as clan conflict or
disputes over land and natural resources. Plans then would
be formulated to address their specific concerns, said
Sullivan.

——————————————— ——
Malaysia Pushes For Resumption of Exploratory Talks
——————————————— ——

¶10. (C) Sullivan noted that during the September 26
executive session, the Malaysian facilitator announced a
Malaysian Cabinet/Ministry of Defense decision to extend the
tour of duty for Malaysian members of the International
Monitoring Team (IMT) for three months instead of one year.
While no preconditions were specified by the Malaysian
facilitator for renewing the tour of duty upon expiration in
late November 2007, Sullivan said Malaysia’s renewal would
likely be contingent upon the resumption of exploratory
talks. Though no firm date has been set, Sullivan expected
the talks to resume after Ramadan.

——————————————— –
Fact-Finding Mission To Basilan to Include IMT
——————————————— –

¶11. (C) As government and MILF negotiators were in Kuala
Lumpur for their question-and-answer session on September 25,
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had two armed
encounters with Abu Sayyaf Group on Basilan. Later that day,
fighting erupted between the AFP and members of the MILF.
Westmincom Commander General Nelson Allaga has lodged a
protest with the Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of
Hostilities (CCCH) over the incident. A fact-finding mission
composed of CCCH and IMT members will investigate this latest
armed encounter on Basilan with the MILF, said Sullivan.

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

MANILA 00003317 003 OF 003

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

   

 

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