Philippines, rebels reach wealth-sharing deal
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines said on Sunday it has clinched a key "wealth-sharing" deal with Muslim rebels, bringing it closer to ending a decades-old rebellion that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the government was cautiously optimistic of a final peace pact within weeks after the compromise deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) late Saturday following six days of gruelling talks.
"This signing indicates that both sides are really committed to finish the peace negotiations. Nobody wants this not to reach its fruition," Ms Ferrer told AFP after the wealth-sharing formula was signed.
Under the deal, the government has agreed to let the rebels have a 75 percent share of earnings from natural resources and metallic minerals in a proposed autonomous region for the Muslim minority in the southern Mindanao region, Ms Ferrer said.