Latest News from the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government says it will resume formal peace talks with the country’s main Muslim rebel group next month, but it is unclear how the two sides resolved the dispute over the negotiations’ Malaysian facilitator.

The government wants to replace Othman Abdul Razak, who has mediated for the last seven years in the talks to grant minority Muslims in the southern Philippines broad autonomy in exchange for ending a decades-long bloody insurgency. The rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front wants to retain him.

Government negotiator Marvic Leonen said in a statement late Thursday after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur that he was satisfied with the resolution of the issue of the facilitator and was optimistic that talks set for Feb. 9-10 will move forward.

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