Philippines and rebels near peace agreement to end 40-year insurgency

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MANILA — The Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim insurgency group worked out the final details of a historic peace agreement Saturday that many hope will end more than 40 years of violence that has killed tens of thousands of people and helped nurture Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia.

“The agreement represents the culmination of decades of excruciating diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the conflict in Mindanao,” said Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University. “This provides an unprecedented opportunity to end one of the world’s longest-running intrastate conflicts.”

Although many challenges remain, the peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is considered a signature achievement for President Benigno S. Aquino III.

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