Sunday, January 8, 2012

News Update Philippines says peace talks entering important phase

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Sunday it was preparing to enter a 'substantive' phase of peace talks with Muslim rebels aimed at ending a long-running insurgency in the country's troubled south.

Ms Teresita Deles, the chief presidential adviser on the peace process, said peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf) would resume in Malaysia on Monday.

'The peace panel is currently preparing for the next round of formal talks with the Milf,' Ms Deles said in a statement. 'As both parties are expected to delve into the substantive aspects of the negotiations, I continue to positively hope that the panels complete their tasks and come up with a framework for a political settlement in the soonest possible time,' she said.

She did not say how long the next round of talks would last, but previous closed-door negotiations typically lasted three days. The 12,000-strong Milf has waged a rebellion since the the 1970s, and the conflict has claimed up to 150,000 lives.