Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA787.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA787 2007-03-09 10:05 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO0772
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0787/01 0681005
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 091005Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5614
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA IMMEDIATE 1152
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM IMMEDIATE 0126
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3114
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000787

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2017
TAGS: EAID MY PINS PREL RP
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATOR: PEACE TALKS ON TRACK, SEEKS QUIET US HELP

REF: MANILA 594 AND PREVIOUS

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Kristie Kenney for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d)

¶1. (C) Summary: Government peace negotiator Secretary
Afable told DCM and visiting EAP/MTS Director Marciel March 1
that territorial differences between the government and MILF
had narrowed considerably, thanks to the visit and
intervention of Malaysian negotiator Othman. Afable sought
quiet U.S. Embassy intercession with his cabinet colleagues,
local leaders and the MILF in a push to achieve a compromise
on territory in the near future, which we agreed to provide
(Ambassador already raised the issue with Executive Secretary
Ermita). Afable also agreed to share confidential
negotiating documents and maps to allow Embassy to direct
assistance more effectively to bolster the peace process.
DCM briefed on Embassy delegation’s February 15 meeting with
MILF Central Committee members in Mindanao. While keeping
confidential the level of detail in our discussions with

SIPDIS
Afable, we will ratchet up our engagement in key localities
and raise with a range of contacts the need to compromise on
territory to achieve peace. Ambassador chaired an Embassy
working group which agreed on the need for concerted USG
efforts to support a peace agreement this year, which would
help eliminate terrorists from Mindanao, and brainstormed a
number of new initiatives which we will now seek to
operationalize. End Summary

¶2. (C) After DCM briefed Government peace negotiator
Secretary Silvestre (Yong) Afable on Embassy delegation

SIPDIS
meeting with MILF leadership February 15 (reftel), Afable
briefed DCM and visiting EAP/MTS Office Director Marciel on
the latest developments in the peace talks. Malaysian
negotiator Othman had recently spent two days with the MILF
in Mindanao followed by a day with Afable in Manila. Afable
laid out three maps depicting: the government’s territorial
offer to add contiguous Muslim-majority villages to the
current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to create a new
political entity; the MILF’s vision for control of the
western half of Mindanao, based on the historical lands of
the Sultanate of Sulu 100 years ago (much of which is now
majority Christian or indigenous); and, proposed map
presented by the Malaysians. The Malaysian compromise added
just eight municipalities, albeit largely Christian
municipalities, to the government’s proposal, representing a
massive scaling back from the original MILF position, Afable
said. The Malaysians told Afable that if the Philippine
government would formally table this Malaysian proposed map,
the Malaysians would restart the peace talks. Afable said
the Malaysians had really pressed the MILF to reduce
territorial demands radically. He indicated that the
Malaysian-proposed map would not become the final agreement
but rather a negotiating point from which the MILF would
demand additional concessions. Nevertheless, Afable believed
the Malaysian proposal represented a potential break-through
on territory, a key impasse in the peace talks.

¶3. (C) The challenge, Afable continued, was to convince
local and national political leaders to accept territorial
concessions of Christian areas, made more difficult by the
imminent outset of the campaign season for the May 14
mid-term elections. The reputation of the current ARMM was
so poor that local governments did not want to join a new,
larger Muslim political entity. Afable said he had yet to
brief his own government on the Malaysian proposal, and
worried that President Arroyo would find it difficult to
accept any territorial concessions during the election
season. Asked by DCM if he could use some help with the
national or local government officials, or the MILF, Afable
said, “all of the above.” DCM said we would seek
opportunities to convey to all relevant players that it is
time to make the difficult territorial compromises for peace,
without indicating our knowledge of the Malaysian proposal.
(Comment: Ambassador already delivered this message to
Executive Secretary Ermita during a breakfast meeting on
March 2).

¶4. (C) Aside from raising the need for territorial
concessions with all players, DCM said the Embassy was
prepared to expand our engagement to help prepare the MILF to
play an appropriate political role after an agreement. We
could offer the MILF assistance to develop into a viable
political party and help develop concepts of policing. We
could also expand our contacts with stakeholders, and U.S.
Special Forces could coordinate more frequently with the
Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team on MEDCAPS and
other community outreach. Separately, DCM suggested that the

MANILA 00000787 002.2 OF 002

Philippine government convene a meeting of embassies that
interact with the MILF, such as the U.S., Japan, Malaysia,
Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and others, to share information
and coordinate messages. Afable welcomed all of these ideas.
DCM asked to see the sensitive consensus points agreed by
the Philippine government and the MILF to date, in order to
be able to best channel U.S. assistance to the process.
Afable agreed to provide them very discreetly.

¶6. (C) Comment: At an internal peace process working group
chaired by the Ambassador, key Embassy agencies and sections
concluded that we should take advantage of the quiet openings
evident from our contacts with both the MILF and the
government to press for a peace agreement this year, which we
believe could significantly help rid Mindanao of terrorists.
We will continue to support Malaysian leadership as the
facilitator to the peace talks, but believe that coming to
closure on a peace agreement will require more U.S. support
behind the scenes. We will continue to develop and deploy
our ideas on an interagency basis.
KENNEY

   

 

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