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Mon 11 Feb 2013

Philippines President Aquino visits Muslim rebel stronghold for peace mission

President Benigno Aquino (right)

flickr-U.S. Embassy, Manila Philippines

President Benigno Aquino makes a historic visit to the country's main Muslim rebel stronghold in an effort to push peace talks further.

The premier's visit to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) main base in the south of the country is the first peace mission attempt in the area by a Filipino president since the insurgency began in the 1970s. 

Aquino will meet with MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim and will witness with him the launch of a social welfare project introduced by the government for the mainly Muslim residents in communities where the insurgents have a large influence.

"It's not a formal meeting, but their presence will underscore the commitment and optimism that both sides have that a final resolution to the peace process will be achieved," Aquino's spokesman said.

"The launch of the social programs will show concrete benefits of peace," he added.

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