The Philippine government and one of the major Muslim-led rebel groups have agreed to sign a pact next week that could end one of Asia's most murderous conflicts. If successful, the agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be a landmark achievement for a government in negotiating peace with a group holding such strong terrorist relations.
"If" is the potential stumbling block, because this is only the latest such deal between Manila and the southern Moros. But a major question is whether there is anything in the Philippine deal that can help Thailand.
The least obvious lesson for this country is the two-part process that allows President Benigno Aquino III to grab the glory of next Monday's signing ceremony. First came a commitment by a string of Philippine leaders to strive for a negotiated settlement. Without the serial and non-partisan decisions by presidents Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino, there would be no deal with the MILF.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.