8 Oct 2012

Peace deal may end 40-year Philippine conflict

11:25 am on 8 October 2012

The Philippine government and Muslim rebels have agreed a peace deal for the country's troubled south, President Benigno Aquino announced on Sunday.

The deal follows long negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

If carried through it could end a 40-year conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people and crippled the region's economy.

The agreement will create a new Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim-dominated areas of the south of the mainly Roman Catholic country before the end of Mr Aquino's term in 2016.

It will set up a 15-member Transition Commission, which has until 2015 to draft a law creating the new entity to replace the current autonomous region, Reuters reports.

But Mr Aquino warning that there are still details both sides must thresh out.

There is a risk that radical Islamic factions could split off from the main group and continue fighting in a region that has a history of links with al-Qaeda militants.

Another threat comes from powerful clans who control some areas and may fear a loss of political influence.