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.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Malaysia to pull out peace monitors in Mindanao in Sept.

Malaysia will probably withdraw its cease-fire monitors from the restive southern Philippines in September because of stalled peace talks between Manila and Muslim separatist rebels, the national news agency in Kuala Lumpur reported Monday.

Foreign Minister Rais Yatim, quoted by Bernama news agency, said Malaysia plans not to send more troops or other personnel to the southern Philippine island of Mindanao once the current mandate of its monitoring team ends in September.

"We have to get cooperation from both sides. But if one party is not making the effort, we will have to end the mission," Rais said.

The minister did not elaborate, and his aides could not immediately be reached.

Malaysian officials have previously warned that the monitoring mission could be pulled out unless stalled peace talks show concrete progress.

The Malaysians lead an international team that includes personnel from Brunei, Libya and Japan. It is responsible for safeguarding a 2003 cease-fire between the Philippine military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Malaysian-brokered talks between the Philippine government and the MILF hit a snag in December when rebel negotiators walked away from a meeting after disputing proposals by Manila, including the extent of territory that would fall under Muslim control.

The MILF, which the Philippine military says has 11,000 fighters, is the largest group battling for self-rule in the southern Philippines. (Source: email from Abhoud Syed M. Lingga)

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