Phillipine muslim peace deal will end deadly insurgency
Feb 28, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Feb 28, 2014 12:00 am
The Phillipine government will hold talks by "the end of march",Malaysia's Prime Minister said on Friday after meeting President Benigno Aquino.
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AFP) - The Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign a peace deal to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest insurgencies.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said Aquino invited him to witness the ceremony when "the comprehensive agreement is due to be signed by the end of March".
An official in the office of Aquino's adviser on the peace negotiations confirmed the signing was targeted for the end of next month though no exact date has been set.
"The successful conclusion of the Mindanao peace process makes possible the empowerment of all the peoples of Mindanao," Aquino told reporters referring to the southern Philippine state where a decades-long conflict has caused more than 150,000 death, mostly among civilians.
Aquino was speaking to reporters in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya on his first visit to the neighbouring country.
The Philippine government and the 12,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) completed negotiations last month for a power-sharing arrangement with the nation's Muslim minority in the south.
The deal aims to end an insurgency that began in the 1970s, killed tens of thousands and left large parts of the fertile southern Philippines mired in violence-plagued poverty.