‘Keep on talking with Abu Sayyaf’

MANILA, Philippines–Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales has suggested a “mutual shift” in the focus of dialogue and demands between government negotiators and the Abu Sayyaf group.

Rosales stressed that both sides should do away with the “insistence mutual threat.”

He gave his suggestion in a letter he sent to President Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday, March 31 at 1 p.m., or two hours before the ultimatum made by the kidnappers for the government to pull out all its troops from Sulu province.

The Abu Sayyaf group threatened to behead one of the three workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) if government failed to pull out from the province.

“It is true that in dealing with the unreasonable, there must be the exercise of firmness,” Rosales told Arroyo in his letter, which was made available by the office of the Manila archdiocese Wednesday afternoon.

“But precisely because there is the non-use of reason, there needs to be the exercise of a mutually instructive dialogue, a sharing in the mutual shift in the focus of demands and the final disarming of threats and fears,” the cardinal said.

“The task is very difficult, but rather than have bloody carcasses in the end, which will surely escalate in the “get-even” aftermath, let there be proper mutual shifts of dialogue and demands. The human exchange will be more important than the insistence of mutual threat,” stressed Rosales.

The cardinal finally thanked the President “for the quick decision on this threatening crisis involving the sacredness of every life,” apparently referring to the pullout of some military troops from Sulu.

The Abu Sayyaf kidnappers, however, reneged on their promise to release one of their ICRC hostages in exchange for the military pull-out.

Dona Pazzibugan, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm  Comments Off on ‘Keep on talking with Abu Sayyaf’  
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