Philippines President holds historic peace talks

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The Philippines president has held talks with the leader of separatist rebels the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in a historic meeting held in Japan.

President Benigno Aquino met Murad Ebrahim of the MILF, the Philippines’ largest Muslim separatist rebel group, at a Tokyo hotel in a push to accelerate peace talks.

More than 150,000 people have been killed in three decades of insurgency in the Philippines south, and these talks could see a formal peace within five years.

President Aquino and Murad Ebrahim agreed to hasten the ongoing peace talks and to sign a peace agreement over the remaining five years of Mr Aquino’s term.

It’s the first time in 14 years of negotiations a Philippines President has met directly with the MILF leader.

The talks were described as a candid exchange of views on the peace process.

Both sides conceded there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Japan has welcomed the talks, held at a hotel near Tokyo’s Narita airport.

Government and MILF negotiators are meeting for another round of talks later this month in Malaysia.