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Landmark roadmap for peace announced

Government and rebels reach vital agreement

Landmark roadmap for peace announced
Negotiators at this week reporter, Manila

February 28, 2013

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The government and the Philippines main Moro rebel group agreed a road map late on Wednesday that will delegate increased autonomy to a Muslim region on the restive southern island of Mindanao.

Following talks in Kuala Lumpur, the deal between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) outlines a transition period to establish the new region Bangsmoro and includes the first framework towards new rules governing police there.

Wednesday's agreement is the first of four annexes designed to flesh out a landmark framework agreed in October that ended four decades of fighting.

On Monday, President Benigno Aquino appointed the rebels’ chief negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal, as the head of a new 15-man commission, which will draft the basic law governing the region.

“The road ahead is full of twists and turns. The challenges are seemingly unsolvable. But I know that the members of the [transition body] have the political will to overcome all problems and obstacles along the way,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the head of the government’s negotiating team, described the latest peace talks as a “very fruitful round, a very happy one, with the signing of the annex.”

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