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Government ready for peace talks

MANILA, Philippines, March 20 (UPI) -- While the Philippines government's push to restart peace talks in the southern Mindanao region is being positively received, critics are calling for caution.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has made restarting peace talks with the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front and achieving stability in the Mindanao region a top priority. Despite the push, Filipino lawmakers are calling for the need to recognize that the talks are unique, the Philippines government reported.

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"Muslim problems are uniquely different and should be addressed uniquely from other problems of the country," Rep. Pangalian Balindong, chairman of the Philippines House Committee on Muslim Affairs, told the government's peace panel, according to a news release.

Rafael Seguis, Philippines foreign affairs undersecretary, said the government's peace panel is ready to resume peace talks with MILF. Renegotiations will be held "within the legal and constitutional parameters and those set by the (Philippines) Supreme Court," the release said.

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