Oct 222014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/01/07MANILA281.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA281 2007-01-25 07:02 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO7744
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0281/01 0250702
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250702Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4883
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000281

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/23/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL MY RP
SUBJECT: PEACE PROCESS MOVING FORWARD

REF: A. 06 MANILA 4974

¶B. 06 MANILA 4836
¶C. 06 MANILA 4802

Classified By: DCM Paul W. Jones for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
has radically downsized its territorial claims in response to
the government’s November 2006 offer of self-determination,
according to the government’s chief negotiator. The
negotiator was optimistic that remaining territorial issues
could be handled by special economic zones or privileges.
After further progress on these issues, the next step was
reconciliation between the leaders of the MILF and MNLF,
which he believed the Malaysians and the Organization of
Islamic Conference would actively support. The chief
negotiator noted Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi’s clear
commitment to a successful peace agreement, a cautious
Malaysian style to avoid embarrassing set-backs, and the firm
Malaysian stance against rogue MILF commanders’ harboring
terrorists. DCM outlined Embassy ideas for another round of
direct talks with the MILF, which the negotiator
enthusiastically endorsed as critical to building MILF
confidence and leverage over its rogue commanders. The
negotiator recommended we brief the Malaysian facilitator
before approaching the MILF. Our plan is to meet again with
MILF leadership in Mindanao to describe and seek MILF support
for the upcoming Balikatan humanitarian and civil-military
operations, USAID projects, and ship visits, while
underscoring the need for practical measures to capture
terrorists. End Summary.

¶2. (C) In a meeting with DCM on January 18, head of the
Government negotiating panel with the MILF Silvestre C.
Afable Jr. said that the peace process continued to move in
the right direction. Afable praised Malaysian Prime Minister
Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s commitment to the peace
process, and described Malaysia facilitator Datuk Othman bin
Abdul Razak as a “tough negotiator” who appeared determined
to sever links between renegade MILF commanders and
terrorists.

¶3. (C) Peace Talks Update: Afable said the Malaysians had
received a counter-proposal from the MILF in response to the
Philippine government’s offer of self-determination for
Muslim majority areas of Mindanao from last November (ref b).
Afable said the MILF had largely dropped the expansive
territorial claims that had put the peace process at an
impasse, and now only sought limited additional flexibility
on territorial issues. Specifically the MILF sought special
rights for MILF commanders in provinces outside Autonomous
Region in Muslim Mindanao and some form of land connection
between Muslim areas in Central Mindanao and the Sulu
Archipelago. Afable believed these concerns could be met by
creating special economic zones and special privileges such
as free transit rights to MILF commanders, and was consulting
with legal experts about such ideas. He expected to be
invited to Kuala Lumpur soon for informal consultations on
these issues before another round of MILF talks.

¶4. (C) MILF-MNLF Reconciliation: A final peace agreement
hinges on reconciliation between the two Muslim insurgent
organizations, the MNLF and MILF, Afable continued. Once
there is clearer forward movement on the MILF peace talks,
Afable expected Malaysian negotiator Othman to visit the
Philippines to meet with, and press for reconciliation
between, MILF Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim and MNLF Chairman
Nur Misuari, who is currently jailed in Manila. The
Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) would also support
reconciliation, Afable believed. The Philippine government
has not yet decided whether to release MNLF Chairman Misuari
to attend a planned February 2007 GRP-MNLF-OIC tripartite
meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to discuss further
implementation of the 1996 MNLF peace agreement. Afable said
the government has no qualms about the substance of such a
meeting, but is concerned that Misuari could use the
opportunity to grandstand against Manila in the Middle East.
The Philippine government had tried to get the venue moved to
Jakarta, but without success, Afable added.

¶6. (C) Separating MILF Commanders From Terrorists and U.S.
Support: Afable said the MILF Central Committee needs time
and encouragement to turn certain MILF commanders away from
providing refuge to terrorists. DCM underscored continuing
U.S. desire to help the peace process, and outlined ideas for
another U.S. meeting with MILF leadership, to include DCM,
USAID Director and the Commander of U.S. Joint Special
Operations forces in the Philippines. The goal would be
further to inform the MILF of potential U.S. humanitarian and

MANILA 00000281 002 OF 002

assistance programs in MILF areas, as well as upcoming U.S.
ship visits to General Santos and possibly Cotobato, while
continuing to discuss plainly the need to sever ties with
terrorists. Afable replied that direct dialogue between the
U.S. Embassy and the MILF Central Committee was of “critical
importance” to building confidence and trust in the peace
process, and encouraging the MILF to resolve internal
differences with hard-line commanders. He strongly supported
such a meeting, and believed U.S. ship visits in Mindanao
that provide visible humanitarian assistance could have a big
and positive impact on the peace process. He recommended,
however, that before discussing with the MILF leadership, we
first brief Malaysian facilitator Othman, since it was likely
the MILF would seek his views. We will be in separate
contact with colleagues at Embassy Kuala Lumpur to request
assistance in briefing Othman.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

You can also access this site through the State Department’s
Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

KENNEY

   

 

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