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Philippine president believes in Muslim rebels' sincere efforts to forge a peace deal

09-14-2010 16:29 BJT

MANILA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is sincere in its efforts to come up with a negotiated settlement with the Philippine government, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Tuesday.

Aquino told reporters the MILF demonstrated in the past their sincerity by imposing disciple to its members who violated the law.

"They (MILF) are also upholding the ceasefire, which has been in place for a long time," he said.

"I really believe in their sincerity," he stressed, adding this was the reason why he immediately formed the five-man government peace panel that will negotiate with the MILF.

The MILF has also formed a special panel that will negotiate with the government.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades in a bid to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. Peace talks between the government and the MILF have stalled since August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

However, efforts are being made by both sides to revive the talks. A final peace deal with the government will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlements of the rebel group's 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters. The negotiation is expected to start soon now that the Ramadan has ended.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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