5 days before SONA, Arroyo halts offensives vs MILF rebs

Five days before her last State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines Thursday to stop its offensives against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels in a bid to restart peace talks, a move welcomed by the guerrillas.

Talks with the MILF broke down last year, when the government accused the rebels of launching attacks on several villages in Mindanao after the Supreme Court threw out a preliminary peace deal.

Chief government negotiator Rafael Seguis said Mrs. Arroyo’s order is aimed at providing a conducive atmosphere for the resumption of talks.

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