Philippines signs peace deal with Muslim rebels
Bali: The Philippines government on Monday signed a historic peace accord with Muslim rebels who were involved in a four-decade insurgency.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim signed the accord announced by President Benigno Aquino outlining a roadmap for peace by 2016.
Ebrahim said the deal "lays down the firm foundations of a just and enduring peace formula". It offers a chance to end a rebellion that has killed an estimated 150,000 people since the 1970s.
"We extend the hand of friendship and partnership to the president and Filipino people," he said.
Aquino hailed the agreement as a chance to "finally achieve genuine, lasting peace".
Under the deal, the 12,000-strong MILF would abandon its push for an independent homeland in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao that they consider their ancestral homeland before Spanish Christians colonised the country in the 1500s.
However, both the government and the MILF leadership have cautioned that the signing does not guarantee an end to the conflict.
"As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Much work remains to be done in order to fully reap the fruits of this framework agreement," Aquino said.
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