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http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07MANILA952.html#

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA952 2007-03-23 06:49 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Manila
VZCZCXRO3275
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0952/01 0820649
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 230649Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5807
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH IMMEDIATE 0717
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI IMMEDIATE
RUEHJI/AMCONSUL JEDDAH IMMEDIATE 0330
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 MANILA 000952

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2017
TAGS: PREL PINS KISL RP
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR ON PEACE IN MINDANAO

REF: A. MANILA 923

¶B. MANILA 828
¶C. MANILA 787
¶D. MANILA 782
¶E. MANILA 594
¶F. MANILA 281

MANILA 00000952 001.2 OF 003

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

¶1. (S) Summary: Presidential Peace Process Advisor Dureza
told Charge that he welcomed increased Embassy engagement
with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), local and
national leaders in support of the peace process.
Separately, chief government negotiator Afable said the
Cabinet would consider territorial concessions to the MILF on
March 22, to be rolled out publicly only after the May 14
elections. The government is trying to balance its
engagement of the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF), Dureza said, and promote a dialogue between them.
Negotiations continue with the envoy of the Organization of
Islamic Conference (OIC) on plans for a tri-partite
conference in Jeddah during July 2007 to review the
implementation of the MNLF peace agreement. Dureza said the
government was targeting 2007 to bring together all elements
of the complex Mindanao peace process, noting that signing an
agreement with the MILF absent understandings with the MNLF,
local Muslim, Christian, and indigenous leaders, would not
resolve Mindanao’s security. End Summary.

———————————-
Increased U.S. Engagement Welcomed
———————————-

¶2. (C) Charge briefed Presidential Advisor on the Peace
Process Secretary Jesus “Jess” Dureza March 20 on increased
U.S. engagement of stakeholders in the MILF Peace Process.
Stakeholders include the MILF, Moro National Liberation Front
(MNLF), indigenous peoples, Congress, Local Government Units,
Regional Government of the Autonomous Region of Muslim
Mindanao, traditional Muslim leaders, civil
society/non-governmental organizations, foreign governments,
and the business community. Charge explained to Secretary
Dureza that the U.S. approach was intended to complement
Malaysia’s important role as host to the MILF peace talks and
leader of the International Monitoring Team, and that our
Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was keeping Malaysian officials
apprised of our approach.

¶3. (C) Dureza welcomed greater U.S. engagement and said that
after the May 14 elections such engagement would be critical
to gaining the support of Congress and Local Government Units
for the creation of a new Muslim-led political entity in
Mindanao. He commented that Malaysia has become more open to
a U.S. role, prompted by the MILF, which sees greater USG
involvement as in their interest.

—————————
Territory Remains Key Issue
—————————

¶4. (C) Although the Government’s offer of self-determination
was well received by the MILF, territory remained the key
issue in the negotiations, according to Dureza. Both parties
were continuing their efforts to reach a compromise on
territory through back channel communications with the
Malaysian Government. Malaysia did not want to resume
exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur before some compromise was
reached on this contentious issue because another impasse
would not bode well for the peace process.

¶5. (S) As promised in our last meeting, Secretary Afable
provided Charge with maps depicting the Malaysian proposal to
restart the peace talks, and the government assessment of the
MILF’s bottom line. The maps depict a significantly scaled
back MILF position, yet one that seeks certain
Christian-majority areas. Afable said the cabinet would meet
March 22 to decide whether to put new territorial concessions
on the table. Charge said the U.S. Mission would seek to
focus political and development engagement on the most
contentious localities to mitigate political tensions once
these issues became public. Afable noted that Congress would
have to pass a referendum law, and then a local-level
referendum would need to be held to include territory in the
new political entity. During the months ahead, Afable hoped

MANILA 00000952 002.2 OF 003

to gain Congressional support for a referendum at the
barangay rather than provincial level to improve chances for
majority votes in those areas pinpointed for inclusion.

————————————-
Better Military Line-Up On The Ground
————————————-

¶6. (C) Dureza was optimistic that military personnel changes
and a presidential directive would help maintain peace on the
ground. President Arroyo issued a clear directive for closer
cooperation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and
established peace process mechanisms with the MILF following
the March 6-7 clashes in Midsayap, North Cotabato (refs b and
d). The replacement of 6th Army Infantry Division
Major-General Nehemias Pajarito with Major-General Raymundo
Ferrer from the 1st Infantry Division would help restore the
primacy of the peace process in central Mindanao, said
Dureza. He was also pleased that the government’s delegate
to the Joint Ceasefire Committee, Brigadier-General Edgardo
Gurrea, was assigned as Deputy Commander, Eastern Mindanao
Command, ensuring that command’s connection to the overall
peace process.

——————————————— —-
MNLF Is Key Stakeholder in MILF Peace Process
——————————————— —-

¶7. (C) Dureza highlighted the importance of carefully
calibrated and balanced engagement with the MILF and MNLF
during the peace process so that each party would not
perceive itself as ignored or excluded. According to Dureza,
Malaysia expressed concern that MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari was
becoming prominent too quickly through his candidacy for Sulu
Governor (ref a).

¶8. (C) Dureza said that MNLF Chairman Misuari recently
agreed to accept MNLF factions, including the “Council of
15,” back into his fold. While noting that it was
unrealistic to expect a merger between the more unified MNLF
and the MILF, Dureza expressed support for the promotion of a
dialogue between the two organizations. He said Malaysia and
the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) were aware of
the need to promote such a dialogue, but did not seem
confident that either was doing enough. At some point, a
discrete meeting needed to be arranged between MNLF Chairman
Misuari and MILF Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim.

——————————————— —–
Will Misuari Attend Tri-Partite Meeting in Jeddah?
——————————————— —–

¶9. (C) The Preparatory and Final GRP-MNLF-OIC Tri-Partite
Conferences to review implementation of the 1996 GRP-MNLF
Final Peace Agreement will be held back-to-back during July
2007 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As a confidence building
measure between the MNLF and MILF, Dureza suggested that an
MILF observer be allowed to attend this conference, but he
did not indicate that idea had been accepted so far.

¶10. (C) Although the OIC has requested MNLF Chairman Misuari
to lead the MNLF delegation to Jeddah, Dureza commented that
approval by the Makati Regional Trial Court for Misuari’s
travel abroad remained uncertain.

——-
Comment
——-

¶11. (C) Bringing together the MILF and MNLF peace processes,
and gaining support from local and national leaders is both a
critical and ambitious task to establishing security in
Mindanao. It is also essential to transform Mindanao into a
region that does not offer sanctuary to international
terrorists. Embassy has established a peace process steering
committee of key sections, agencies, and the U.S. Joint
Special Operations Task Force to ensure we gain maximum
synergies toward this goal.

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

MANILA 00000952 003.2 OF 003

Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/

JONES

   

 

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