Malaysia stays as facilitator of GPH-MILF talks

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2013 05:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2013 01:39 AM

MANILA - Malaysia remains as the third-party facilitator of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Palace spokesman said Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the peace talks have not been affected by the standoff in Sabah, saying that the "framework agreement is bigger than the Sabah standoff."

"Ang desisyon po ay manggagaling sa atin at ang desisyon po sa ngayon… ay hindi nagbabago kung sino ang facilitator natin. Ang facilitator po natin ngayon, ang Malaysia," he said.

Lacierda said that the government and the MILF are close to signing a final agreement with only issues on normalization and power-sharing remaining to be settled.

"We're close to an agreement. We have not received any notice. There's no reason for us to change the facilitator. They have been very helpful in coming up with a framework agreement, agreement for peace not only for MILF but for the entire Muslim Mindanao."

"We cannot give up what we've been working on for so many years, that is to bring just and lasting peace to Mindanao."

He said the peace talks is served to benefit not only the MILF but the entire Mindanao region, including the sultanate and all residents of the south.