Philippine rebel group welcomes new gov't negotiator

2012-12-09 07:19:58 GMT2012-12-09 15:19:58(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF), the largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines, welcomed Sunday the appointment of a university professor as the chief negotiator of the Philippine government.

MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal said that Professor Miriam Ferrer-Coronel of the University of the Philippines deserves her appointment.

"I wished her luck and looked up for more strides in the talks under her stewardship," he added.

Iqbal, who has been in the negotiation for 14 years and MILF chief negotiator for 10 years, has faced all kinds of negotiators from the government ranging from military generals to a diplomat, a scholar and full cabinet member, a lawyer, and now a woman.

Ferrer replaced Marvic Leonen, who is now an associate justice of the Supreme Court. She has been with the government peace panel since 2010.

The MILF has been fighting government troops for decades to establish a self-rule Muslim state in the Philippines.

The government and the MILF formally signed a framework agreement on Oct. 15 this year, which serves as a road map for the final political settlement to end the decades-old armed struggle in southern Philippines.

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