Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Malaysia to end ceasefire monitoring in Mindanao by Sept.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia 's foreign minister Monday said his government will not send any more monitoring teams to the troubled Philippine region of Mindanao once its current mandate expires in September.

The Philippines government and separatist rebels had struck a deal last November on creating a Muslim homeland in the country's south, which was expected to lead to a peace accord but further talks have fallen through.

"Malaysia is actually prepared to continue with whatever humanitarian effort, whether through negotiation or cooperation," foreign minister Rais Yatim told state news agency Bernama. "But if the situation remains negative and the government there feels it needs to review (the situation), then we shall give them room to do so," he added.

Bernama said the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) had earlier threatened to pull out at the end of its mandate in September if there was no progress in the seven-year-old peace talks between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A key stumbling block to the Malaysian-brokered peace talks was the extent of territory to be handed over to the MILF when a ceasefire was forged in 2001.

The Malaysian peacekeeping force has been in Mindanao since 2004 as part of the IMT, comprising 41 officers from the Malaysian Armed Forces and police, supported by 10 military officers from Brunei and five from Libya , Bernama reported.

The team has now been expanded to include members from Canada and Japan. Since the IMT's deployment, violence between government and rebel forces has significantly decreased. (Agence France-Presse)

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