MILF: Remaining issues in peace talks very difficult

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2014 12:28 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2014 08:28 PM

MANILA -- The peace panel of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expects rough sailing when it returns to the negotiating table with government next week.

The two sides will resume talks in Malaysia, which is acting as facilitator, on January 22 to tackle the annex on normalization and the issue on Bangsamoro waters.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal told ANC these topics are very difficult.

"The annex on normalization contains sub-issues that are difficult -- decommissioning, redeployment of government troops, organization of the police for the Bangsamoro, disbandment of private armies, and of course socio-economic intervention in the area, and then transitional justice," Iqbal said.

"Pangalawa, yung Bangsamoro waters po, mahirap din po yan," he added.

Earlier this week, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer had expressed optimism the talks would go smoothly and they would be able to reach an agreement.

Government hopes to sign a final peace deal for the creation of a Bangsamoro entity this month.

There are four annexes in the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro.

In February last year, the first annex on transitional arrangements and modalities was signed.

Five months later, the annex on wealth-sharing was completed. Before 2013 ended, both sides finished work on the annex on power-sharing.

The peace talks with the MILF began in 1997, and since then both sides have made progress in completing a final peace deal.