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Philippines

Restraint policy wins praise

US ambassador, top peace activist praise attempts to keep peace talks alive

ucanews.com reporters, Manila

ucanews.com reporters, Manila

Published: October 27, 2011 09:40 AM GMT
Restraint policy wins praise
Evacuees returning

A Spanish missionary activist priest and the US ambassador have praised President Benigno Aquino for showing restraint in dealing with recent alleged rebel attacks on troops. Claretian Father Angel Calvo, speaking for the Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace and the Catholic-led Peace Advocates of Zamboanga said preserving peace is the only option considering people's sufferings when past peace talks broke down. "We applaud and support the stance of President Aquino in keeping alive the peace negotiations with the MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front]," Fr Calvo said in a statement yesterday. His groups also support the president's declaration of an "all-out justice" policy in catching, punishing and "neutralizing" people responsible for attacking soldiers and civilians in an October 18 clash in Al-Barka, Basilan that left 19 soldiers and a reported five rebels dead. Aquino last week rejected calls for all out retaliation against the rebels but approved limited action against the camp of the commander of the alleged attackers. Fr Calvo said while attacks understandably spark "emotional outcries", people must exercise sobriety to help preserve gains made over the years of on-and-off peace talks to end four decades of fighting in Mindanao. US Ambassador Harry Thomas,who also issued a statement today, declared the US government's "full confidence in the careful, measured approach of the government of the Philippines at this time of heightened tension. "We welcome steps by all parties to reinforce the cease-fire that has been in place since 2009. We fully support the ongoing peace process and hope the parties can avoid violence," he said.

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