Peace talks between Philippine government, MILF again break down

By Xinhua,

Manila : The peace talks between Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on July 24 to 25 broke down because the government side attempted to make changes on the issues on ancestral domain, said the MILF on Saturday.

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“The talks collapsed because the government was undoing already-settled issues on ancestral domain. The signing of Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain set for August 5 was cancelled,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the MILF, at the MILF website.

Iqbal said the two-day talks was “highly charged contrary to expected smooth sailing talks purposely for the drafting and initialing the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain”.

The Philippine government said on July 16 the government and MILF are close to reaching a memorandum of agreement solving disputes over ancestral domain, a thorny issue blocking the signing of a peace agreement between the two sides to bring peace to Mindanao.

The peace talks between government and MILF entered an impasse last December mainly due to their failure to reach an agreement on the ancestral domain issue.

After completing the legal study for nearly four months, the government submitted new proposal to the MILF through Malaysia this month, while the MILF made its counter proposal through Malaysia three days later, said MILF.

The MILF is a 10,000-strong armed separatist force seeking autonomous rule in the western and southern parts of Mindanao.