World Bulletin / News Desk
Moro Muslims and the Philippine government will extend the current round of peace talks, both sides said on Friday, aiming to clinch a deal to end a four-decade old conflict.
The talks, taking place in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, are in their final stages and will be extended for at least one day, a senior government official said. Sources close to the discussions said an announcement on the outcome may not be made until Monday.
After four days, both sides said they needed time to study details of a deal that would set in train a roadmap to create an autonomous region in Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao island before the end of President Benigno Aquino's term in 2016.
"It's been extended, they are still talking at least until tomorrow and I don't know, it may be further extended," Teresita Quintos-Deles, presidential adviser on the peace process, told Reuters.
"We're already in the final stages, both sides need to do more deliberations even among themselves and their principals."
Negotiators from both panels told Reuters last month major obstacles to a framework deal being signed this year after nearly 15 years of stop-and-start talks appeared to have been surmounted after intense diplomacy.
"We certainly want to have an agreement within a more immediate time frame," Quintos-Deles said. "Both sides are being bold and cautious at the same time."
She later told reporters by mobile text message that both sides were pressing for an agreement "that we can uphold and stands the best chance to bring us the peace our people have long been hoping for and deserve".
Ghadzali Jaafar, political officer of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), separately told Reuters the talks were proceeding smoothly, with topics including power-sharing and territorial issues.
"All sides are expecting that the talks would remain smooth so that we can attain a peaceful resolution of the Mindanao conflict," he said.
An accord would set up a 15-member Transition Commission, which has until 2015 to draft a law creating the entity that will replace an autonomous region created more than two decades ago and widely seen as a failure.
More than 100,000 people have died in 40 years of conflict.
Communist Party of China decides deputy, regarded as key ally of president, to replace Lu Wei
Exiled Communist Party leader says government, rebels, to accelerate negotiations
Of 15 safety inspectors underground during accident, 8 managed to escape but 2 remain missing
Police say insurgents suspected in latest fatal attack to hit troubled region
UN says progress slow on Sri Lanka's post-war reconciliation
Over 3,800 turn themselves in to police in southern Mindanao alone ahead of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration
North Korea responds aggressively to 'military provocation,' as major parliamentary gathering gets underway in Pyongyang
55 Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers boycotting assembly since police failed attempt to arrest their deputy leader
7 Indonesians among 13 crew travelling on tugboat when attacked by Filipino gunmen last week
PM Abe’s gov’t discusses how to lessen UK referendum’s fallout on Japanese economy as Tokyo prepares for July 10 polls
Junta leader insists won’t follow example of UK’s Cameron by resigning if Thais reject draft charter in Aug. 7 referendum
- Police believe suspects behind Sunday’s car bombing in Muslim south were involved in blast at mall car park last year
Second finance minister resigns for ‘personal reasons’ as PM announces 3rd cabinet reshuffle since 2013 election
Activist calls for transparency over why officials were transferred in province notorious for refugee rights abuses, graft
SKorean leader addresses concerns on internal division as government highlights importance of firm handling with North Korea
The southern area of Thailand is plagued by insurgency, although the shooting not thought to be related to the insurgency