Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/07/07MANILA2503.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2503
2007-07-26 09:12
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO2864
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2503/01 2070912
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 260912Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7566
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002503

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
USPACOM ALSO FOR J5
SECDEF/OSD/ISA/AP TOOLAN/REDMAN
JOINT STAFF/J5 (WILKES/ROBINSON/COLEMAN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2017
TAGS: PTER MOPS PINS RP
SUBJECT: PRESERVING PEACE PROCESS IN WAKE OF BEHEADINGS ON BASILAN

REF: A. MANILA 2474
¶B. MANILA 2428
¶C. MANILA 2369
¶D. MANILA 2358
¶E. MANILA 2344

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Paul Jones
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. Ambassador, DCM and country team are urging
Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders
to preserve the peace process by exercising maximum restraint
in the wake of the beheadings of ten Philippine marines on
July 10. After many interventions, we understand President
Arroyo has decided to delay further punitive military action
until at least July 30, giving more time for a joint
government-MILF investigation to proceed. We are
coordinating our messages with like-minded Ambassadors from
Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand. We will continue
to press the primacy of the peace process, and the use of
cease-fire mechanisms to investigate and pursue perpetrators
of the beheadings. Ultimately, the government may still
decide to launch a military operation, which may or may not
trigger wider violence. Meanwhile, Malaysian negotiators are
in the Philippines trying to conclude a politically sensitive
chapter in negotiations between the government and the MILF
insurgents, adding another dimension to the current
situation. End Summary

¶2. (C) Ambassador spoke with Executive Secretary Ermita and
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Esperon separately July
25 to urge maximum restraint and use of cease-fire mechanisms
to investigate fully the beheadings on Basilan. Ermita and
Esperon expressed the need for the Philippine military to
take “limited police action” against the perpetrators.
Ambassador urged them to consider carefully the effect that
such action could have on peace and security, especially if
MILF commanders initiated sympathy attacks. Ambassador and
DCM also called Presidential Peace Process Advisor Dureza and
Government Peace Panel Chairman Garcia as they prepared for
an emergency National Security Council meeting. Both agreed
with our messages, worrying that any military operation on
Basilan could trigger a widening conflict. DCM also conveyed
clearly to MILF Vice Chair Jafaar the responsibility of the
MILF to help identify the perpetrators of the beheadings and
not to allow MILF commanders to launch any “sympathy” attacks
in Central Mindanao in the event of further fighting on
Basilan.

¶3. (C) In a previously scheduled meeting, former Government
Peace Panel Chairman Afable described to DCM the pressure
Malaysian officials were bringing to bear, both to keep the
peace and make progress on the negotiating track. The
Malaysian Chief of Staff had met earlier on July 25 with
Philippine Chief of Staff Esperon, while the chief Malaysian
facilitator was traveling to Mindanao for meetings with the
MILF. Afable believed that peace talks could resume in Kuala
Lumpur in the first half of August, if not derailed by
renewed fighting.

¶4. (C) During Ambassador’s July 26 breakfast with
Australian, Canadian, Japanese, and New Zealand Ambassadors,
there was a consensus on the need for concerted diplomatic
engagement to uphold the primacy of the peace process. All
parties agreed to coordinate carefully messages to government
and MILF leaders urging maximum restraint and a thorough
investigation of the July 10 beheadings.

¶5. (C) The Joint Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities
will formally begin its fact-finding mission in Basilan on
July 27, although both government and MILF representatives
have completed preliminary investigations. We understand the
President has decided to further delay punitive actions
against alleged perpetrators of the beheadings until at least
July 30 to allow time for the Joint Committee’s investigation
to proceed.

¶6. (C) Comment: The government may eventually decide to
launch a limited punitive raid against perpetrators of the
beheadings, while trying to minimize risk to the overall
peace process. While the results are unpredictable, our
message has clearly been heard. We will continue to make the
case for restraint and use of peace process mechanisms for a
full investigation. We discussed with like-minded

MANILA 00002503 002.2 OF 002

Ambassadors using side meetings during he upcoming ASEAN
Regional Forum to highlight the importance of the peace
process in Mindanao.
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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