Philippine government, Muslim rebels to sign final peace deal on March 27

The peace agreement is to end a conflict that claimed at least 120,000 lives.

The peace agreement is to end a conflict that claimed at least 120,000 lives.

ANKARA - The peace agreement between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be signed on March 27, Philippine presidential advisor confirmed Friday. 

"After 17 long years of arduous negotiations, we are finally arriving at a political settlement that will seal enduring peace and progress in Mindanao,” said Teresita Quintos Deles said in a statement.

The peace agreement represents the culmination of diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the conflict in Mindanao, home of the Muslim minority, that began in the 1970s and killed at least 120,000 people, mostly civilians. 

MILF and several other armed groups have fought to gain independence for the Christian country’s predominantly Muslim south, determined to earn what leaders on the ground term "a better life" for the country's Muslim population. The violence has also left large parts of the country’s fertile southern region mired in poverty. 

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) aims to give greater autonomy to the regional government in the Bangsamaro, located in the south of Mindanao. 

“The signing of the CAB is expected to benefit not only the Bangsamoro but the entire country, and will radiate beyond our borders to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world,” Deles added.

Deles said that preparations for the event are currently underway.

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