UN chief hails peace accord between Philippine gov’t, Islamic rebel group

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NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the conclusion of a peace accord between the Philippine government and the country’s Islamic rebel group to end four decades of conflicts which have claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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“The secretary-general welcomes the signing today of the last of the four Annexes to the ‘Government of the Philippines-Moro Islamic Liberation Front Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro’ of 2012,” a statement issued here by Ban’s spokesperson said.

“The completion of the formal negotiations paves the way for the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro,” said the statement.

Ban congratulated the negotiating teams of the government and the MILF for “their perseverance, courage and commitment in having reached this important milestone in the peace process.”

The Philippine government and the MILF on Saturday completed their peace talks and signed the Annex on Normalization, which is the fourth and final part of a peace roadmap started in 2012.

The accord will allow Muslim self-rule in parts of the poor but resource-rich southern Philippines. In exchange, the weapons of the rebel group will be decommissioned.

According to the accord, a new autonomous region named Bangsamoro will replace the existing five-province Muslim autonomous region. Bangsamoro will have a larger territory and enjoy more power.

A final peace agreement containing this accord and three other pacts reached earlier will be signed soon in Manila, a Filipino presidential spokesman said. PNA

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