Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2838.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2838
2007-08-21 10:45
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO5582
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2838 2331045
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211045Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7953
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH IMMEDIATE 0345
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 MANILA 002838

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/22/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT PANEL POSTPONES MILF PEACE TALKS

REF: MANILA 1337

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4 (b) and
(d).

¶1. (C) Summary. The head of the Philippine government’s
peace negotiation panel has postponed for two weeks planned
exploratory talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
scheduled for August 22 in Malaysia. The postponement was
necessitated by the Cabinet’s inability to reach a consensus
on what lands would be included in the planned Muslim
autonomous region in Mindanao. Some Cabinet members sought
input from Congress in the drafting of a charter for a Muslim
homeland. Separately, the head of the government peace
negotiation panel noted the importance of renewing the
mandate of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which
expires September 8. End Summary.

¶2. (C) A top official on the government peace panel,
executive director Ryan Sullivan, attributed the two-week
delay to the Cabinet’s inability to reach a consensus on an
agreement laying out what lands would constitute the new
Muslim political entity. According to Sullivan, panel
chairman Rodolfo Garcia was concerned over returning to the
negotiating table with no clear mandate and recommended to
President Arroyo August 18 that an executive session be held
among himself, chief MILF negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, and a
Malaysian facilitator in place of exploratory talks.
Although President Arroyo agreed to the executive session,
the MILF and Malaysia did not. Consequently, the talks were
postponed, said Sullivan.

¶3. (C) Sullivan noted that the disagreement within the
Cabinet centered on three key issues: self-determination,
territory, and governance for the Muslim political entity.
Sullivan said that a serious effort would be made over the
next several weeks by the Office of the Presidential Adviser
on the Peace Process to bring along the full Cabinet.
Despite prodding by President Arroyo to pursue the peace
process and peace talks, Sullivan noted that the Cabinet
remains deeply divided over the creation of a new autonomous
Muslim political entity. “If we can’t reach a consensus for
an ancestral domain agreement, the government and MILF will
have to wait until the next administration, but we do not
know what will happen with certain elements of the MILF in
the meantime,” Sullivan worried.

¶4. (C) Some Cabinet members wanted input from Congress in
the drafting of a charter for the new Muslim political
entity. Sullivan expressed concern that such Congressional
input would undermine self-determination, which President
Arroyo had already promised. One issue was the insistence of
some Cabinet members that a plebiscite be held at the
provincial rather than local level, which might keep some
Muslim communities in neighboring Christian-dominated
provinces from joining the Muslim autonomous region.

¶5. (C) Sullivan also noted that the postponement could have
an impact on renewing the mandate of the International
Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao, composed of Malaysia,
Brunei, Libya, and Japan, which expires September 8. In
addition, he noted that Malaysian Major General Dato Ismail
Khan’s tenure as the IMT’s head ends on August 28, shortly
before the mission’s mandate expires. With the planned
retirement in early October of another key peace process
official, Government Coordinating Committee for the Cessation
of Hostilities chairman Edgardo Gurrea, some personnel
responsible for coordinating peace process mechanisms are in
flux.

¶6. (C) Comment: The government appears to be seeking broader
support for its negotiating position, within the executive
branch and congress, and finding consensus more difficult
than expected. The issues are politically divisive and
difficult, in Manila and among local Muslims in Mindanao. We
will continue to encourage all sides to press ahead toward a
negotiated agreement under Malaysia’s facilitation.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

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

JONES

   

 

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