MANILA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines, defended Thursday Malaysia from criticisms that it used the ongoing peace talks between Philippine government and the rebel group to strengthen its claim on Sabah.
Mohammad Ameen, head of the MILF Secretariat, explained that Kuala Lumpur, the mediator of the peace progress, did not volunteer to facilitate in the negotiation between them and the Philippine government.
He said that it was then Philippine President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo who requested Malaysia in 2001 to act as mediator when she embarked on her first official foreign trip.
"Malaysia merely responded sincerely to the request of a good neighbor," Ameen said.
Nur Misuari, leader of former secessionist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), reportedly accused Malaysia of using the MILF to strengthen its claim over Sabah and that Kuala Lumpur was responsible for promoting disunity among the Moros.
While the peace talks have been moving forward through the signing of a framework agreement by Philippine government and MILF last October, another group of Muslims, the Sulu Sultanate, has been engaged in hostilities with the Malaysian forces in Sabah to assert its claim.