Few lessons from Manila | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Few lessons from Manila

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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.

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