Philippines in Muslim homeland deal

Accord on demarcating self-governed territory follows talks with separatist group.

    Violence has swept southern Philippines
    since the late sixties [EPA]

    The government and MILF have been in talks for a decade about a self-governed territory for Muslims in the largely Catholic country - in hopes of ending a brutal 40-year-old conflict.
    Disagreements over the size and wealth of the proposed territory had delayed talks for over a year and were a major stumbling block to an eventual permanent peace deal.
    "It's definitely very good news," Jesus Dureza, a presidential adviser, said.
    Bloody conflict
    He added that the two sides hoped to sign a formal agreement early next year before moving onto what sort of government the homeland will have.
    The two sides have previously signed two agreements on security and  rehabilitation in conflict-affected areas.
    Muslims in the south of the Philippines have been fighting for their own territory for decades.
    The conflict has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced at least 2 million since the late 1960s.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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