Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2005/07/05MANILA3435.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA3435 2005-07-27 06:48 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 003435

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/PMBS, INR/EAP, S/CT, USIP – SOLOMON
NSC FOR GREEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2014
TAGS: PGOV PINS PTER PINR KISL MY RP
SUBJECT: GRP-MILF PEACE TALKS POSTPONED; LATEST NEWS
REGARDING TERRORISM

REF: A. OPS CENTER – MANILA 07/27/05 TELCON
¶B. MANILA 3391
¶C. MANILA 3350
¶D. MANILA 2785

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

¶1. (S) Summary: The latest round of exploratory talks
between the GRP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
have been postponed. The talks — which are being
facilitated by the Malaysian government — were scheduled to
be held on July 25 in Kuala Lumpur and appear to have been
postponed due to scheduling conflicts on the Malaysian side.
In other Mindanao-related news, recent joint Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP)-MILF efforts to intercept Abu Sayyaf
Group (ASG) and Jemmah Islamiyah (JI) elements remain
inconclusive. National Security Adviser Gonzales has
announced that the GRP has foiled a bomb plot and is seeking
10 suspected suicide bombers. Mission is trying to confirm
the report. Despite the postponement, most observers remain
confident that the talks are on track and will resume
relatively soon. End Summary.

KL Talks Postponed
——————

¶2. (C) The 9th Round of GRP-MILF exploratory talks have been
postponed. The talks — which are being facilitated by the
Malaysian government — were scheduled to take place July 25
in Kuala Lumpur (ref c). GRP Peace Panel Secretariat
Chairman Ryan Sullivan told poloff that both the GRP and the
MILF were ready to meet on July 25 as planned, but that
scheduling conflicts involving the Malaysian government
prompted the postponement. MILF technical adviser, Musib
Buat, predicted to poloff separately that the talks would
reconvene in mid-August, although media reports suggest a
longer delay, perhaps as long as two months. MILF Peace
Panel member Maulana Alonto informed poloff that the
postponement was also attributable to “the political mess in
Manila, among other things.” While contacts have not been
able to confirm it, the general view is that the Malaysian
government may have decided that the talks were best
postponed at this time due to the ongoing political
turbulence in Manila. (Note: The Opposition filed
impeachment charges against Arroyo on July 25 and Arroyo —
amid a large Opposition rally — gave her annual State of the
Nation Address the same day — see ref b. End Note.)

AFP-MILF Continue Joint Efforts
——————————-

¶3. (S) The AFP and MILF are still coordinating information
and operations in pursuit of ASG and JI members at large in
the coastal region of Maguindanao Province in central
Mindanao. Major Dickson Hermoso, Secretariat Chairman of the
GRP Delegation to the Coordinating Committees on the
Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), told poloff July 19 that the
AFP and MILF have recently established a Joint Monitoring
Assistance Center (JMAC) in Talayan municipality in
Maguindanao to coordinate operations and prevent accidental
skirmishes between their forces. The JMAC includes the CCCH,
GRP and MILF members of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group —
AHJAG (ref d), and the Malaysian-led International Monitoring
Team (IMT).

¶4. (S) The AFP has told us that AFP helicopters in the
Maguindanao area have recently been shot at by small arms.
The helicopters were not seriously damaged, contrary to press
reports, and there were no casualties. According to Hermoso,
small skirmishes on the ground continue, while the ASG and JI
suspects remain at-large. He asserted that a local MILF
commander, Zainuddin, is harboring suspects in exchange for
bribes. The MILF is investigating the purported involvement
of Zainuddin in providing safe-haven for terrorists, Hermoso
added.

National Security Adviser’s Remarks
————————————

¶5. (C) On July 26, National Security Advisor Norberto
Gonzales told local media that, aided by intelligence from
neighboring countries, GRP security forces had foiled a plot
for a major attack in the Philippines. He added that the
Philippine National Police (PNP) were hunting 10 suspected
suicide bombers. No further information was provided.
During the interview with ANC Television, Gonzales also
pushed for the swift passage of a comprehensive
anti-terrorism law. (Note: President Arroyo called on
Congress to quickly pass an anti-terrorism law in her State
of the Nation Address on July 25, a point she reiterated
during a televised press conference on July 27. End Note.)
Mission is trying to confirm the report regarding the bomb
plot and suspected suicide bombers, and is reviewing
materials in other channels.

Comment
——-

¶6. (C) Despite the postponement, most observers remain
confident that the talks are on track and will resume
relatively soon. Although the political tensions continue to
percolate in Manila, the matter of how to handle Mindanao has
not been part of the controversy and there is widespread
support for the talks. The pursuit of ASG and JI high-value
targets remains a slow process. The positive news is that
AFP-MILF coordination appears to be solidifying. In regard
to Gonzales’ statements, suicide bombing is by no means the
normal modus operandi in the Philippines. One purpose of the
remarks may have been to spur support for the proposed
anti-terrorism legislation.

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MUSSOMELI

   

 

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