Oct 182014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2006/09/06KUALALUMPUR1812.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KUALALUMPUR1812
2006-09-27 09:45
2011-08-30 01:44
SECRET
Embassy Kuala Lumpur

VZCZCXRO1614
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHKL #1812/01 2700945
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 270945Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7614
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 001812

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/26/2026
TAGS: PREL PINS PTER MOPS EAID RP MY
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA SEES “DEADLOCK” IN GRP/MILF PEACE PROCESS

REF: KUALA LUMPUR 1525

Classified By: DCM David B. Shear for reasons 1.4 (b and d).

Summary
——-

¶1. (S) Malaysia’s Othman Abdul Razak, facilitator for the
Philippines Government (GRP)/Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) peace process, told Polcouns September 26 that the
talks had “deadlocked.” The previous round in early
September had gone nowhere because GRP negotiators had failed
to demonstrate flexibility on the issue of territory.
Manila’s requirements for legislative approval of a final
agreement constituted a second stumbling block for the
future. Othman understood that the new offer being prepared
in Manila also would be a non-starter and questioned the
wisdom of holding another round of talks on this basis. He
commented that GRP approaches to individual commanders had
not been successful but had damaged MILF confidence in the
peace process. Manila appeared to believe time was on the
GRP’s side and a “no peace, no war” situation remained
acceptable, but MILF leaders could not keep hardliners in
check indefinitely. Othman called for creative solutions and
greater political will from President Arroyo, while also
describing her domestic political position as weak. Othman
expressed his hope that international and U.S. pressure might
influence the GRP position. Compared with his views in early
August, Othman’s outlook on the peace process was far more
negative and more partisan in favor of the MILF negotiating
position. End Summary.

The Failed September 6-7 Round
——————————

¶2. (S) Polcouns called on Othman September 26 to gain his
views on the 13th round of talks, held September 6-7 in Kuala
Lumpur, and the prospects for a future round. Othman, who
had just returned from extended overseas travel (including
Bosnia), described the 13th round as a failure. The talks
had “deadlocked” as the GRP had presented no compromise that
would help resolve the issues surrounding the territorial
boundaries of the prospective MILF entity on Mindanao,
including the territorial contiguity for the
Moro-administered area. Given that the MILF had agreed to
give up its goal of independence as part of a peace deal, and
that the Moro-administered areas would remain part of the
Republic of the Philippines, Othman judged Manila’s position
to be unreasonable. Othman added that the GRP position that
the future agreement be subject to legislative passage or
referendum constituted a second major stumbling block for the
future. While acknowledging that he risked being labeled as
partisan at this juncture, he placed the blame for the
current “impasse” on the GRP.

New GRP Offer Not Promising
—————————

¶3. (S) Polcouns asked about press reports noting that the
GRP was preparing a new offer that it would shortly pass to
the MILF through the Malaysian Government and raising the
possibility of another round of talks in October. Othman
stated that his “intelligence sources” had informed him that
Manila’s new position also would be a non-starter as it
lacked meaningful compromise and included reference to a
referendum to determine territorial boundaries. He
questioned the utility of holding another negotiating round
if there were no prospect of progress. Othman implied that
he anticipated traveling to Manila soon.

¶4. (S) Othman raised reported GRP efforts to negotiate
separately with individual MILF commanders, approaches now
privately acknowledged by the GRP. Othman stated these
approaches did not meet with success in terms of splitting or
weakening the MILF. However, they had the negative effect of
undermining MILF confidence in the integrity of the peace
process.

Status Quo OK for Manila, Not for MILF
————————————–

¶5. (S) The Malaysian facilitator stated he was under the
impression that Manila believed time to be on its side. The
current situation of “no peace, no war” remained largely
acceptable to the GRP. Mindanao’s situation had stabilized
to the extent that the Philippines could attract more aid
into the region from foreign donors, including the Japanese.
Longer-term demographic shifts, produced by new non-Moro
settlements, worked in Manila’s favor. However, the MILF

KUALA LUMP 00001812 002 OF 002

would not sit still for long if there were no prospects for
progress in negotiations. Hard-line MILF commanders and
ulamas at a certain point would press for action and MILF
retained significant weapons stockpiles.

Creativity Needed…
——————–

¶6. (S) Othman called for President Arroyo to provide
“creative solutions” to reach a negotiated settlement, citing
the example of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s
flexible approach to the Aceh peace talks in 2005. Strict
interpretations of constitutional requirements, in which
legislative approval and referendums were a part, narrowed
the options that the GRP presented. Instead, Arroyo needed
to “think outside the box.” Third-countries guarantees to
the parties might be part of a new approach, Othman
speculated.

…and U.S. Pressure
——————–

¶7. (S) Othman continued that creative thinking and
associated risk-taking required a position of political
strength that Arroyo lacked. He doubted GMA would take such
risks absent pressure from the international community. Even
then, Othman said, Arroyo’s domestic political standing might
prevent a GRP compromise in the MILF negotiations.
Nevertheless, Othman urged the U.S. to exert diplomatic
pressure on Manila to offer more compromise on the issue of
Moro-administered territory and to consider creative ways
forward. Polcouns stated that the U.S. strongly supported a
negotiated solution to the GRP-MILF conflict and rejected a
return to violence.

¶8. (S) Othman said Malaysia remained committed to
involvement in the International Monitoring Team. At a
certain point, however, contributing countries including
Malaysia would need to examine the costs and benefits of
their deployments. Othman inquired about possible U.S.
assistance to the Bangsamoro leadership and management
center, an issue he raised in our previous meeting (reftel).

Comment
——-

¶9. (S) Othman, by his own admission, was pessimistic on
near-term prospects for the GRP-MILF peace process and more
partisan in placing the blame for the current “impasse” on
Arroyo’s government, a change from his expressed views in
early August. However, he did not signal any plan for
Malaysia to bow out of its facilitator role. Othman clearly
intended his comments to influence U.S. views in support of
international pressure on Manila.
LAFLEUR

   

 

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