Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/06/05MANILA2972.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA2972 2005-06-28 23:29 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002972

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, USIP-SOLOMON
EAP/PMBS FOR PWICKBERG
NSC FOR GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/28/2015
TAGS: PINS PTER PREL MY RP
SUBJECT: GRP-MILF PEACE TALKS: A SLOW AND INCREMENTAL
PROCESS

REF: WICKBERG-BELLARD EMAIL:JUNE 28 2005

Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus
for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo’s
recent assessment that the GRP and MILF will reach a peace
accord in six months is highly optimistic, although other GRP
figures have made similar predictions. We expect the process
to slow down as the parties delve further into specifics on
proprietary land rights. The ongoing political scandals in
Manila and the contentious ARMM Gubernatorial election could
also serve as obstacles to progress in the negotiations. The
three parties (GRP, MILF, and third party facilitator
Malaysia) have consistently resisted direct USIP engagement
in the peace talks, although USIP’s involvement on the
margins (through workshops and conflict resolution training)
has proven useful. End Summary.

Overly Optimistic Forecasts
—————————

¶2. (C) Many GRP officials have predicted the successful
conclusion of the GRP-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
peace talks soon, earlier this year citing June as a target
and more recently looking toward year-end. Foreign Secretary
Romulo’s recent assessment to D echoes the public GRP stance,
which has been strengthened by two recent rounds of positive
talks and the existing ceasefire overseen by the
International Monitoring Team. However, many tough,
unresolved issues remain on the table. The GRP and MILF have
so far discussed the issue of proprietary land rights (i.e.,
ancestral domain) in general terms, but the process likely
will slow down as the parties delve further into the
contentious specifics. The GRP continues to insist that no
legal or Constitutional changes will be necessary, and that
existing legislation on Indigenous Peoples is sufficient to
address MILF concerns, while MILF leaders have called at the
very least for a new Federal system that would give greater
autonomy than now possible even under the Indigenous People’s
Rights Act. The MILF leadership approaches these
negotiations very cautiously to avoid the same perceived
mistakes of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), whose
1996 Peace Agreement with the GRP centered on what many now
view as the discredited and dysfunctional Autonomous Region
In Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), as well as failing to provide for
true economic autonomy and control over resources.

Challenges Ahead
—————-

¶3. (C) In addition to the complexity of the issues under
negotiation, the distractions of the current political
situation in Manila and possible weakening of President
Arroyo’s political base may have a negative impact on the
GRP’s ability to deliver on any commitments to the MILF in
the negotiations or an eventual agreement. In addition, the
ARMM elections on August 8 could further impede the
negotiations; MNLF leaders have called for a boycott, citing
failure of the GRP to live up to provisions of the 1996
agreement.

¶4. (C) The decision of the President’s political party to
anoint a candidate also belied earlier Malacanang assertions
that it would stay out of the ARMM leadership stakes and
allow a genuine autonomous choice by ARMM residents. In
particular, many view the choice of Zaldy Ampatuan as
anti-MILF. Some in the MILF have also suggested that its
membership not participate in the election on the basis that
the group does not recognize the ARMM.

USIP’s Role
———–

¶5. (SBU) All parties have consistently been reluctant (to
varying degrees) to accept the good offices of the United
States Institute of Peace (USIP) regarding the ongoing
negotiations, although GRP and MILF working-level officials
found useful in particular a recent USIP workshop on
ancestral domain. USIP could conceivably help bolster the
existing ceasefire through sustainable training courses for
the adjudicators of localized clan or family-based feuds
(a.k.a., “rido”), which often escalate and draw in opposing
GRP and MILF forces. Other possible USIP projects might
include inter-religious or inter-tribal reconciliation, or a
comprehensive conflict resolution training program for
military and police officers deployed to central Mindanao
where the conflict is focused.

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

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MUSSOMELI

   

 

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