Gov't-MILF exploratory talks end with progress but nothing final.
Byline: Kristine Angeli Sabillo
MANILA -- The exploratory talks between the government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ended Sunday with "substantial progress" but still no finality on the remaining power-sharing and normalization annexes.
"The Parties made substantial progress on the remaining Annexes on Power-Sharing and Normalization. They have proceeded in exhaustive, honest discussions in order to identify the best formulations for an agreement that would respond to the aspirations of both Parties," a joint statement from the GPH and MILF panels said.
GPH panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said, in a separate statement, that the exploratory talks had to be concluded because their "Malaysia hosts are celebrating the Eid'l Adha holiday and could no longer extend the talks to today."
Both groups pledged to focus on completing the annexes following the break. Ferrer said they agreed to have a Bangsamoro ministerial government based on the MILF's envisioned structure.
"There is understanding now on the level of detail that would go into the Annex on Power Sharing but some disagreements still on specific features. Discussions are also ongoing on the extent of territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro political entity over waters and on the protection of fishing rights of subsistence fisherfolk in the Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf," she said.
Ferrer also disclosed that the two parties' technical working groups on Normalization have met and achieved a consensus "on the mechanisms that will address the different security aspects of normalization, such as the private armed groups, and disposition of weapons and combatants, and land conflicts; the provision of socio-economic programs; and reconciliation."
The power-sharing and normalization annexes are the last two annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro that is for negotiation and approval by the GPH and the MILF. In February this year, the two parties signed the transitional arrangements and modalities annex, followed by the approval of the wealth-sharing annex in July.