Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2852.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2852
2007-08-22 09:30
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6767
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2852/01 2340930
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 220930Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7966
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002852

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/23/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT AND MILF TO HOLD EXECUTIVE SESSION ON PEACE TALKS

REF: A. MANILA 2838
¶B. MANILA 1337

Classified By: Pol/C Thomas Gibbons for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary: In a step to keep an important Mindanao
peace process alive, a key Muslim insurgent group today
accepted the Philippine government’s decision to postpone
negotiations slated to start August 22 in Kuala Lumpur, and
proposed extending by three months the mandate of the
Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team. The Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) credited the intercession of
the Malaysian facilitator in their decision to maintain the
negotiations, and agreed to the Philippine government’s
proposal for an “executive session” of the exploratory peace
talks before the end of August to confirm the international
monitoring team’s extension (ref A). The MILF said it wanted
to give the Philippine government time to reach consensus on
its negotiating plan for Kuala Lumpur, and, less
altruistically, enable the government to drop criminal
charges against MILF members wanted in the July 10 beheading
of ten Marines on Basilan. The government has agreed to meet
next week and extend the international monitors. Separately,
the president’s peace process advisor told Charge that the
Cabinet was unable to reach consensus on its negotiating
strategy last week because several key appointees questioned
the constitutionality of plans for a Muslim political entity
in Mindanao. End summary.

¶2. (C) The MILF Central Committee issued a public statement
August 22 announcing its acceptance of the government’s
decision to postpone the Kuala Lumpur talks and it’s
willingness to extend for three months the mandate of the
Malaysian-led international monitoring team. MILF peace panel
member Michael Mastura attributed the Muslim insurgent
group’s decision to the intervention of the Malaysian
facilitator, Datuk Ohtman bin Abdul Razak, who visited the
MILF camp in Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao. The MILF
announcement called for an executive session between the
government and MILF in Kuala Lumpur before August 30 to
confirm the extension of the monitoring team’s mandate.

¶3. (C) Philippine negotiator Ryan Sullivan confirmed to
poloff August 22 that the government was preparing to take
part in an executive session in Malaysia between Peace Panel
Chairman Rodolfo Garcia and his MILF counterpart, Mohagher
Iqbal, next week. Sullivan said both sides “would take stock
of all issues on the negotiating table and how to proceed.”
The government would also agree to extend the monitoring
team’s tour of duty during the executive session, said
Sullivan.

¶4. (C) In a discussion with Charge today, President
Arroyo’s peace process advisor Jesus Dureza said that
concerns raised by several Cabinet members were responsible
for the government’s decision not to endorse a negotiating
position based on the concept of “self-determination” at a
security council meeting last Friday. In particular, Legal
Advisor Apostal questioned the constitutionality of self
determination for a new Muslim political entity without prior
holding of a plebiscite. New Defense Secretary Gilberto
Teodoro, a highly regarded lawyer, raised similar concerns.
Other Cabinet members pressed for further consultations on
the proposal with local Muslim political leaders, including
former Sultan Kudarat province governor — and now
congressman — Pax Mangudadatu, who is adamantly opposed to
inclusion of any part of his province in a Muslim homeland.

COMMENT
——-

¶5. (C) President Arroyo and former chief government
negotiator Afable announced several months ago the
government’s new offer of “self-determination,” which the
MILF found enticing. With Afable no longer in the Cabinet,
it appears that support for that position has weakened.
Fortunately, the Malaysians and the MILF have given the
government the time needed to reconcile its position. End
comment.

¶6. (SBU) The text of the MILF Central Committee’s August 22
statement follows:

In consideration of the intervention of the Malaysian
facilitator, Datuk Ohtman bin Abdul Razak, and his Party
during their meeting with the MILF Central Committee and the
MILF Peace Panel at Camp Daranapan on August 22, 2007, the
MILF wishes to make the following statement:

MANILA 00002852 002 OF 002

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) understands the
reasons of the Government of the Philippines (GRP) postponing
the Exploratory Talks scheduled on August 22 in Kuala Lumpur
which was conveyed through the Third party facilitator,
namely: (1) to allow the GRP Panel more space to seek clear
mandate and guidelines from its Principal; and (2) to enable
the GRP to drop the criminal cases filed against the 67
members of the MILF implicated in the July 10, 2007, Basilan
incident.

In view of the postponement and the need to decide on the
extension of the tour of duty of the International Monitoring
Team (IMT) which will expire on August 30, 2007, the MILF
agrees to the said extension for three (3) months subject to
the concurrence of the GRP and to be confirmed at the
Executive Meeting of the Panels of both Parties before the
expiry date of the tour of duty of the IMT.

We take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to
the Government of Malaysia and members of the international
community for their support to the peace process and for
averting further hostilities between the Armed forces of the
MILF and GRP.

Mohagher Iqbal
Chairman
Committee on Information
MILF Central Committee

End Text

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JONES

   

 

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