RealNews

New peace initiative in Philippines

Government negotiators and Muslim separatist guerrillas in the Philippines said yesterday they had agreed to work towards resuming stalled peace talks and halting fighting which has raged in recent weeks. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front broke off all contact with government peace negotiators after losing a major stronghold in a government military offensive last month. The recent fighting, among the fiercest in years, has killed scores on both sides and displaced about 70,000 villagers on the southern island of Mindanao. The two sides signed an agreement at Malaysian-brokered talks in Kuala Lumpur last week, pledging to take steps to resume the talks and “exercise mutual restraint to minimise, if not put an end to, violence in Mindanao”, the government chief negotiator, Jesus Dureza, told reporters. In a joint statement, the government and the rebels reiterated their commitment to work for a political settlement of the separatist war the guerrillas have been waging for years. Full Story

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