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Peace talks with Philippine gov't should be done in secrecy: MILF

09-26-2010 15:59 BJT

MANILA, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The peace process between the Philippine government and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should be done in secrecy in order to succeed, a Muslim rebel official said Sunday.

Jun Mantawil, chairperson of the MILF peace panel secretariat, said that while consultation is indispensable for the conduct of the talks, the need for secrecy is very much the factor that described all successful negotiations.

"Negotiation is not public hearing that the presence of everyone is required," Mantawil explained, adding that allowing everyone to join the peace talks would reduce the undertaking into a public debate.

Mantawil made a reaction on the proposal of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry to President Benigno Aquino III, in a recent forum, that private sector or the citizenry be allowed to join in the peace talks even as an observer status.

"Ask every successful negotiator and he will always tell you that largely a negotiation is conducted under the cloak of secrecy, otherwise the spoilers would lay an ambush before it gets into the first base,"said Mantawil.

However, Mantawil clarified that his view does not mean he is opposed to the participation of the Davao business group, which he said is within the competence of the parties.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades in the south of the predominantly Catholic country. Peace talks between the government and the MILF stalled in August 2008 following the aborted signing of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

However, efforts are being undertaken by both sides to revive the talks. A final peace deal with the government will touch the issues of autonomy and the civil settlement of the rebel group's 11,800-strong guerrilla fighters.

Peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF is expected to start before November this year, with Malaysia as the third party facilitator.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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