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Philippine leader, Muslim rebel chief hold surprise talks

Published on Jun 26, 2014 1:40 PM
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (front left) lays a weath on an altar for the A-bomb victims at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima on June 24, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino held a surprise meeting in Japan with the country's top Muslim rebel to address growing concerns over delays in implementing a peace deal, their aides said on Thursday.

The meeting took place on Tuesday on the sidelines of a peace conference in Hiroshima where Mr Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim were guests, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

A rebel spokesman said the MILF sought the meeting to raise concerns over delays in implementing an accord signed in March, after a draft law that is crucial for a final peace was not passed by Congress this month as planned.

Mr Lacierda divulged few details of the meeting, other than it was a 15-minute encounter and that they talked about the planned law that would create an autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines.

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