Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/11/07MANILA3728.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA3728
2007-11-20 09:09
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO0826
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #3728/01 3240909
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 200909Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8937
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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 SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 003728

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: MINDANAO PEACE PROCESS MOVES FORWARD

REF: A. MANILA 3676 (INSURGENT CHAIRMAN MALAYSIAN

FACILITATOR WELCOME USG SUPPORT)
¶B. MANILA 3509 (GOVERNMENT AND MILF BREAK IMPASSE
ON TERRITORY)
¶C. MANILA 3392 (NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR VIEWS WAY
FORWARD)
¶D. MANILA 3193 (MUSLIM INSURGENTS MULL TERRITORIAL
OFFER)
¶E. MANILA 2509 (MNLF DELEGATION DISCUSSES PEACE
PROCESS)

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

¶1. (C) Summary. The Philippine government has made
important progress on each side of its dual-track peace
discussions with Muslim groups in Mindanao, increasing the
likelihood that both sets of talks will return to formal
negotiations early in the new year. During preparatory talks
in Kuala Lumpur, the Philippine government and Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) agreed on land boundaries for a new
Muslim political entity and made significant headway on
maritime issues, including joint management of natural
resources. The parties also approved extensions of key
domestic and international monitoring teams to maintain the
current ceasefire. While hopes for a comprehensive peace
deal by mid-2008 with the MILF are rising, the parties still
have to tackle the difficult issue of governance after the
territorial agreement is signed early in the new year.
Separately, after two years of delay, the Philippine
government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) sat
down in Jeddah for a first round of exploratory tripartite
talks with the Organization of Islamic Conference on moving
toward full implementation of the 1996 final peace accord.
The talks produced agreement to set up working groups and to
meet for full-fledged talks in January. Meanwhile, some
members of Mindanao’s two largest Muslim insurgent groups
recognize the importance of harmonizing their respective
agreements with the government and are taking the first steps
in reaching out to one another for dialogue. End Summary.

——————————————— —-
MILF Peace Process: Land Boundaries a “Done Deal”
——————————————— —-

¶2. (C) The Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation
Front (MILF) resumed peace negotiations in Kuala Lumpur
November 14-15, ending a 14-month impasse over territory.
According to government peace panel director Ryan Sullivan,
the land-based boundaries for a new Muslim political entity
are now “a done deal.” In December, the Philippine
government will begin engaging local government leaders in
areas to be included to sell them on the territorial deal.
The proposed new Muslim political entity would be comprised
of Sultan Kudarat Province, with the exception of Tacurong
city and three barangays in Isulan city; one-half of Lanao
del Norte Province; one-third of the first Congressional
district of North Cotabato Province, including Pikit city and
parts of Midsayap and Carmen city; Balabac Island in southern
Palawan; Sacol Island near Zamboanga City; some barangays in
Zamboanga Del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay Provinces, and all of
the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao —
Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu,
and Tawi-Tawi Provinces.

—————
Maritime Issues
—————

¶3. (C) Sullivan said there was an agreement “in principle”
to establish maritime boundaries for the new Muslim political
entity at 15 kilometers from any coastline, and to place all
natural resources within these waters under its jurisdiction.
More detailed proposals for the joint management of natural
resources in Philippine waters beyond the 15-kilometer limit
will be discussed during the next round of talks in early
December, according to Sullivan.

——————-
Extensions Approved
——————-

¶4. (C) The government and MILF also agreed to extend the
tour of duty of the Malaysia-led International Monitoring
Team (IMT) until August 2008 and the Ad Hoc Joint Action
Group, which coordinates activities against criminals and
terrorists, until November 2008, Sullivan said. The
monitoring team’s peacekeeping mandate was also expanded to
include Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan. According to

MANILA 00003728 002 OF 003

a joint statement issued after the talks (text in para 10),
Canada would also be added to the monitoring team, but the
Canadian embassy here said that no firm decision had been
made in Ottawa and much would depend on the prospects for
further progress in the peace process.

————————————-
Governance: An Issue for Formal Talks
————————————-

¶5. (C) Sullivan described governance of the new Muslim
political entity as a complex issue that would be taken up in
formal talks during early 2008 after the signing of a
“Memorandum of Agreement” on territory. Government
negotiators hope to gain Cabinet approval for the final text
of the memorandum before the end of December.

———————————————
MNLF Peace Process: Preparatory Talks Convene
———————————————

¶6. (C) In another breakthrough, oft-delayed tripartite
discussions on the other track of the Mindanao peace process
took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, November 10-12 as the
Philippine government held preparatory talks with the Moro
National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC) on how to fully implement the 1996 final
peace accord. The talks took place despite that fact that
MNLF chairman Nur Misuari could not attend because his
lawyers could not obtain a Saudi guarantee that he would
return to Manila by November 13, as required by the
Philippine court hearing his trial on sedition charges.

¶7. (C) This introductory round of talks produced agreement
on setting up joint Philippine-MNLF working groups on
judicial, security, economic, political, and education issues
which will seek to clear up differences over implementation
of the 1996 peace accord. More importantly, the Philippine
government and MNLF agreed to begin formal tripartite talks
beginning January 14, 2008; the talks will likely rotate
between Jeddah, Jakarta, Manila, and perhaps other locations.
The 11-nation OIC Peace Committee of the Southern Philippines
consists of Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Libya, Malaysia,
Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan.

————————-
MILF Reaching Out to MNLF
————————-

¶8. (C) On the eve of the preparatory talks, MILF Deputy
Chairman for the Committee on Information Khaled Musa
expressed support for full implementation of the 1996 final
peace accord. Musa also said that the MILF Central Committee
would initiate a dialogue with the factionalized MNLF,
commenting that “we are inclusive in case we succeed to sign
a peace deal with the government, because the peace deal is
not for the MILF alone.”

——-
Comment
——-

¶9. (C) The Philippine government faces a very delicate task
in calibrating its separate negotiations with the MILF and
MNLF. An eventual power sharing arrangement between these
two Muslim insurgent groups, as well as local Muslim
political leaders, will be vital for peace and security in
Mindanao. The resumption of exploratory talks with the MILF,
and convening of the oft-postponed tripartite talks in
Jeddah, albeit preparatory in nature and without Misuari,
were important steps forward in the Mindanao peace process.
End Comment.

———————–
Text of Joint Statement
———————–

¶10. (SBU) The text of a November 15, 2007, joint statement
issued by government and MILF peace panel chairmen Rodolfo
¶C. Garcia and Mohagher Iqbal follows:

The GRP and MILF Peace Panel resumed peace negotiations after
a fourteen-month impasse since September 2006. The 14th
Exploratory Talks which opened on November 14, 2007, in Kuala
Lumpur successfully ended today with the resolution of
outstanding issues on the territory strand of the Ancestral
Domain aspect.

Building on progress attained during the special meeting last

MANILA 00003728 003 OF 003

October, both sides affirmed all previous points of consensus
on the core items of the territory issue, and achieved
significant headway in defining key principles relating to
maritime domains. The successful outcome of discussions
clears the way for the drafting of the memorandum of
agreement on Ancestral Domain which will be tabled at the
Formal Peace talks scheduled early 2008.

Both sides discussed the current limited tenure of the
International Monitoring Team (IMT) and decided to jointly
appeal to the Malaysian Government to accede to their request
for extension of the tour of duty of the IMT personnel, and
expansion of the IMT areas of coverage as earlier agreed.

The appeal was presented by the Chairman of both panels
during a brief courtesy call on the Hon. Deputy Prime
Minister and concurrent Minister of Defense Dato’ Seri Mohd
Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak who responded positively.

Both sides agreed to immediately review the interim
guidelines of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) for a
period of one (1) year beginning November 16, 2007.

Both Panels considered and accepted the offer of the
Government of Canada to join the International Monitoring
Team.

Both Panels also considered and accepted a proposal of the
Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines (PCBL) and the Swiss
Foundation for Mine Action (Foundation Suisse de Deminage –
FSD), subject to the final determination of the terms of
reference by the Joint Ceasefire Committees.

The panels conveyed their appreciation to H.E. Prime Minister
Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi for the Malaysian
Government’s continued assistance in keeping the peace
process on track, and to H.E. President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo’s continued support in pushing forward the
Mindanao peace process.

Done on the 15th of November 2007 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Signed by Rodolfo C. Garcia, GRP Panel Chair and Mohagher
Iqbal, MILF Panel Chair.

End text.

KENNEY

   

 

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