MNLF REUNIFICATION TALKS IN LYBIATripoli, Libya, April 6, 2003 -- At least five factions of the oldest Muslim rebel movement in the Philippines opened talks on reunification Saturday, seeking to strengthen the 1996 peace agreement with the Philippine government, Libyan officials said. A Philippine government representative and Governor Paruk Hussin of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao were attending the talks, scheduled to last two days, the officials said. Hussin was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the MNLF before the group's breakup. The Moro National Liberation Front fought for Muslim self-rule in the southern Philippines in the 1970s. With the help of Libyan mediation, it signed a peace deal with the government in 1996 that granted the region limited autonomy. Several factions broke away from the main group, however, after the arrest of its leader Nur Misuari, who is being tried for allegedly leading an attack on an army base in November 2001 that killed more than 100 people. With Libyan help, four factions signed a unity declaration in January and were invited to Libya to seal the agreement. The Libyan government hopes the talks will result in Muslim groups gaining a united voice in negotiations with the government. No violent factions - such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the al Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group - are participating in the talks.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
© Copyright, 2003
by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved
PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE