Government-MILF peace talks resume in Malaysia

A security officer stands watch outside a hotel room in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are being held. AP

MANILA, Philippines – The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels resumed formal peace talks yesterday in Malaysia as government officials assured the rebels that the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao is limited in terms of objectives, duration, geographic coverage, and operations.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, government panel chair, had informed members of the International Contact Group (ICG) for the government-MILF peace negotiations about the proclamation of martial law in Maguindanao before the Dec. 8-9 negotiations in Kuala Lumpur.

President Arroyo issued Proclamation 1959 declaring martial law in Maguindanao last Saturday to quell what security officials claimed was an ongoing rebellion in the province allegedly staged by supporters of the powerful Ampatuan clan that were implicated in the gruesome Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people, including women and journalists.

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