MILF welcomes Ramos-Horta 'role' to help peace talks, 13 January 2009

MANILA, Philippines — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) welcomed the willingness of Timor Leste President and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta to help revive stalled peace talks in Mindanao.

But MILF peace panel secretariat head Jun Mantawil said having the Timor Leste leader will have to reckon with the Arroyo government's delaying tactics.

"Whoever can help the GRP-MILF Peace Talks is welcome as long as it is offered in sincerity and objectively," Mantawil said in an article on the MILF website (

Mantawil voiced optimism that Ramos-Horta's experience in Timor Leste's struggle for freedom and the accompanying hardships will be valuable.

On the other hand, he said that while there are many parties willing to help, the Arroyo government's "dribbling" of the resumption of the peace talks wasted all these opportunities.

Ramos-Horta expressed his willingness to help the peace efforts in Mindanao to Gus Miclat, executive director of the Initiatives for International Dialogues (IID) and a personal friend of the Timor Leste president from the days of Timor Leste's struggle for independence from Indonesia.

Ramos-Horta leader will be in Davao City on Wednesday to discuss "Is Long Lasting Peace and Attainable Dream?" in a public forum at the Ateneo de Davao University.

The MILF cited a statement from the IID where Ramos-Horta told Miclat he is willing to help if invited by both the government and MILF peace panels.

Miclat said "IID highly recommends President Ramos-Horta for his unwavering work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in then East Timor which finally led to its independence from Indonesian rule in 2002."

"Ramos-Horta did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize for nothing and his signal prestige and wisdom plus his impartiality can provide the stalled talks a new whiff of energy and perhaps the corridor to an eventual agreement," Mindanews quoted Miclat as saying.

Ramos-Horta's lecture-visit is "part of a program to bring Nobel Laureates to the Philippines, coordinated by Bridges: Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace and International Peace Foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand." - GMANews.TV