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Philippines optimistic to ink peace agreement with Muslim rebels soon

01-21-2012 13:33 BJT

COTABATO, Philippines, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government is optimistic of signing a comprehensive agreement with the country's largest Muslim separatist rebels, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) soon to attain a lasting peace in the troubled southern Philippines.

"We will continue to toil in the search for peace. The bottom line is that ending all internal armed conflicts in the country will not be easy, but it is something that we will not let go," President Benigno Aquino's peace adviser, Teresita Deles, said in a statement on Saturday.

Saying that the prospects for peace in 2012 "have never been this good," Deles said that the major reason for this is the steadfast political leadership and supportive political climate of the Aquino administration which makes the peace and development agenda in Mindanao a priority.

"What happens in the peace table does not happen in a vacuum" and that the peace process "can be extremely vulnerable to the politics in the country. Given this context, the peace process will need the vast support of people and a constituency. It is naive to think that one can work for peace advocacy without engaging the political arena," she explained.

Deles emphasized that the Aquino administration has the " intense desire to have a signed agreement with the MILF as soon as possible, hopefully, before 2013 or the midterm."

"Otherwise, we will run out of time for properly implementing what we have signed," she said, adding the Aquino administration is committed to ending all armed conflicts to ensure a firm start of the implementation of signed peace agreements within his term.

The peace process was stalled since last August following the MILF panel's rejection of the government's proposed peace accord.

The government has offered enhanced autonomy to the largest Muslim rebels in the country, while the MILF has been seeking for the creation of a sub state in the southern Philippines.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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