The “Mindanao Peaceweavers" supports the holding of exploratory talks between the Philippine government (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on February 19-20, and hopes that the meeting if successful will lead to the resumption of formal talks. There is public impatience for the resumption of negotiations even if only exploratory, since the last round of exploratory talks was held last September 2003 in Kuala Lumpur. This impatience is also understandable considering that the formal GRP-MILF talks had opened in October 1999, was derailed by the “all-out” war six months later in April 2000, and after the February 2003 war in Buliok, has been moving forward largely through exploratory talks and back-channeling efforts.
As civil society monitoring the progress of the GRP-MILF peace talks since the 2000 war and shadowing the conduct of the formal talks, we reiterate the following proposals and recommendations to the respective peace panels on the eve of this round of talks:
In return, the Mindanao Peaceweavers will develop a feedback mechanism that will ensure the dissemination of information down to the community level. We hope that information through public consultation and the radio networks will increase public awareness and support for the peace negotiations.
We send the peace panels warm encouragement and support, as we hope that there will be a breakthrough in the GRP-MILF talks similar to the gains made in the Oslo talks this month between the GRP and the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Mindanao Peoples Caucus
Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society
Mindanao Solidarity Network (NCR)
Mindanao Peoples Peace Movement
REY MAGNO TEVES
Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference
FR. ANGEL CALVO
Peace Advocates Zambonga
AUGUSTO MICLAT, JR
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
The Mindanao Peaceweavers is a broad coalition of key networks of peace advocates, grassroots leaders, humanitarian groups and NGOs based in Mindanao and Manila that was formed from the “Peace in MindaNOW” conference held in May 2003 in Davao City. The coalition seeks to
promote peoples participation in the peace process, consensus building, joint campaigns, dialogue and lobby for peace and development in Mindanao. It held a peace strategy meeting last February 6-7 in Davao City.
Mindanao Peaceweavers sent a letter today (18 February, 2004) containing these proposals and recommendations to Sec. Silvestre C. Afable Jr. and Mohagher Iqbal, respective chairs of the government and the MILF peace panels.
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