Iqbal clarifies talk with Libyan official in Manila

MILF chief peace negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal, took exception to the news item appearing in The Philippine Standard dated December 11, citing him as asking the Libyan government  through charge d’ affaires Ahmed Eddeb, who is stationed in Manila, “to assume the role of facilitator” which Malaysia has been doing since 2001.

The news was by-lined by Susanne D. Fabunan, who interviewed the Libyan official recently.

“This is absurd if not an outright distortion of what really was the conversation. We have never talked about facilitation of the GPH-MILF peace negotiations. Malaysia is doing a fine job in the facilitation.”

This was the statement of Iqbal as a way of clarifying the news report that put words into his mouth, which he vehemently denied said those.

Iqbal said that even in the said news the statement of the Libyan charge d’ affaires is very clear. He never talked about facilitation but about Libya reassuming its role in the IMT.

In the interview with Luwaran reporter, Iqbal recalled his exact statement to the official: “When the situation in Libya stabilizes and a legitimate government is put in place, I suggest that Libya should consider rejoining the IMT.”

The Libyan responded, according to Iqbal, by saying: “The MILF should make a formal request so he can convey the matter to the Libyan government…. We have to go through official channel to convey to our government.”

Iqbal also questioned the motive of the news item which comes at a time the MILF and government peace panels are slated to meet in Kuala Lumpur this month to sign important documents mainly on guidelines on ways to effectively implements their agreements.

Iqbal appealed to the media in general and to the Philippine Standard in particular to be precise especially in attributing statements to anyone especially when the subject is sensitive.