Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/07/09MANILA1575.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1575
2009-07-27 12:04
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO4741
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1575/01 2081204
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271204Z JUL 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4732
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001575

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/28/2019
TAGS: PGOV PTER EAID RP
SUBJECT: INFORMAL PEACE TALKS THIS WEEK; MUSLIM GROUP SEEKS CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

REF: MANILA 1568 (SUSPENSION OF MILITARY OPERATIONS
AGAINST ROGUE MUSLIM REBELS)

MANILA 00001575 001.2 OF 002

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney,
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) SUMMARY: Peace panel members from the Mindanao-based
rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will meet
their Philippine government counterparts in Kuala Lumpur this
week — the first full meeting of the two peace panels this
year, a MILF panel member told the Ambassador July 27. The
peace panel member, who said he was conveying an approved
message from the MILF Chairman, expressed appreciation for
continued U.S. support for Mindanao’s internally displaced
persons (IDP) and for the island’s development. The MILF, he
said, looked forward to additional U.S. assistance now that
both the government (reftel) and the MILF had suspended
military operations in central Mindanao. The Ambassador said
that the U.S. stood ready to roll-out new programs or expand
existing ones to support the safe return of IDPs and economic
growth in Mindanao, a role the U.S. was still keenly
interested in playing as both parties return to the
negotiating table. The MILF, while not yet prepared to offer
the U.S. a specific role in the peace process, nonetheless
asked the Ambassador for a written clarification of the U.S.
position on the Mindanao peace process and the role of the
MILF. END SUMMARY.

PEACE PANELS TO MEET THIS WEEK IN MALAYSIA
——————————————

¶2. (C) In a July 27 phone discussion with the Ambassador,
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel member
Michael Mastura — conveying a message from MILF Chairman
Murad Ebrahim — said that the full MILF peace panel would
travel to Kuala Lumpur this week for talks with their
Philippine government counterparts starting July 29. The
meetings are expected to address next steps on the path to
restarting formal peace talks, including how to convert the
government’s suspension of military operations (reftel), and
the MILF’s follow-on reciprocal suspension July 25, into a
more permanent ceasefire arrangement. Mastura hoped the
Kuala Lumpur meetings would achieve documented outcomes that
could help guide the process of resuming formal talks. The
Ambassador congratulated Mastura on the MILF’s move to
declare its own suspension of military operations, and
expressed hope that both sides would have the courage to
carry these recent motions through to a full-fledged
ceasefire and renewed peace process. The U.S., the
Ambassador emphasized, believes that peace is important, and
wants to be helpful as both parties renew their commitment to
peace talks.

MILF SEEKS DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
———————————

¶3. (C) Mastura said that the MILF was looking forward to
additional U.S. development assistance in Mindanao,
particularly aid directed to hundreds of thousands of
internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although some
development projects were put on hold when fighting broke out
in August 2008, the Ambassador noted that several programs
were ready to be rolled out to support the recovery of IDPs,
their health, and economic growth in their communities.
Having visited IDP camps in central Mindanao, the Ambassador
said she understood the importance of this assistance.
USAID, she said, was poised to initiate new programs or
expand existing ones, while the U.S. Joint Special Operations
Task Force (JSOTF-P) would plan additional Civil-Military
Operations (CMO) with its Philippine counterparts.

U.S. AID PROGRAMS READY TO MEET IDP NEEDS
—————————————–

¶4. (C) In addition to monitoring closely the safe return of
IDPs to their homes, Mission Manila has four categories of
programs ready for implementation in Mindanao. First, USAID
plans to provide USD 220,000 in FY09 funds to Save the
Children for clean water projects and livelihood
opportunities, helping cash-poor and agriculture-dependent
civilians generate income. Second, USAID will expand its
provision of health counseling, immunizations, and maternity
care to IDPs, and will mobilize 4,000 USAID-organized
community volunteers throughout the Autonomous Region of
Muslim Mindanao to assess the health needs of individual
families and communities. Third, using Department of Defense
1210 funds, USAID will support the long-term economic growth
of conflict-affected areas through the immediate initiation

MANILA 00001575 002 OF 002

of two large road projects and 10 boat landings for MILF
communities in the Liguasan Marsh, in addition to a
seven-kilometer road through other communities in MILF areas.
Finally, JSOTF-P in central Mindanao will plan CMOs in
coordination with the Philippine military’s East Mindanao
Command to help IDPs return to their homes, in addition to
continuing its existing CMO programs to build and improve
roads, schools, clinics, and wells.

NO INVITATION FOR U.S. ROLE IN PEACE PROCESS — YET
——————————————— ——

¶5. (C) While Mastura said that the MILF sought and
appreciated U.S. development assistance for Mindanao,
including assistance directed at MILF areas, he explicitly
clarified to the Ambassador that the MILF was not yet
extending a formal invitation for the U.S. to be involved in
the peace process, because talks with the Philippine
government had not yet sufficiently progressed. Another
aspect of the MILF’s reticence in this regard, Mastura
explained, stemmed from the group’s experience several years
ago with the U.S. Institute of Peace, which did not have the
authority to speak for the U.S. government. It was
complicated and incongruous, Mastura said, for the MILF to be
engaged on the peace process with the governments of
countries such as Japan and Malaysia, while engaging with a
non-state actor on the U.S. side. He expressed hope that, at
some point in the future, there could be a role for the U.S.
government in the actual peace process.

MILF SEEKS POLICY STATEMENT FROM NEW U.S. ADMINISTRATION
——————————————— ———–

¶6. (C) The MILF leadership, Mastura indicated, had hoped for
a written reply from President Obama to the group’s letter
dated November 21, 2008, which asked for U.S. support for the
aspirations of Mindanao’s Moros, or “Bangsamoros,” as well as
acknowledgment of their grievances. The MILF specifically
sought an updated written statement explaining U.S. policy
toward the Philippines-MILF peace process — but, until that
time, Mastura said, the MILF would continue to regard the
June 2003 letter from then A/S James Kelly as the standing
U.S. policy. The Ambassador offered to convey the sense of
her discussion with Mastura to officials in Washington during
her travel there this week.

KENNEY

   

 

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