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MILF Rebels Blamed for Blocking Peace Talks as Blast Rocks Koronadal

Foreign Secretary Blas Ople on Thursday accused Muslim separatist guerillas of blocking peace talks on the future of the troubled southern Philippines, where a fresh bomb attack killed six people. Malaysian government efforts to broker the talks have been held up by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF’s) refusal to dispatch to Kuala Lumpur its key leaders and negotiators, many of whom are being sought by the police for deadly bombings on Mindanao island earlier this year. “If you’re looking for evidence of the MILF’s bad faith and insincerity, then this is it,” Ople said in a statement. “The MILF is obstructing the resumption of the peace talks by failing to initiate a review of the arrest warrants,” Ople said. He said this was also “a precondition to the grant of safe conduct passes so that they can safely participate in the peace talks in Malaysia. “It is therefore the MILF leadership that should be held solely responsible for the delay if not the failure of the peace negotiations,” the foreign secretary said. Full Story

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