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Prez meets Muslim rebel chief

world Updated: Aug 05, 2011 13:30 IST
AP
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Officials say Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has met with the chief of the country's main Muslim separatist rebel group to boost peace negotiations.

Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said in a press statement the meeting late Thursday between Aquino and Al Haj Murad Ibrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front took place in Tokyo, where they discussed approaches to push the peace process forward.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not directly involved in the talks says the meeting was meant to give the peace talks "a shot in the arm" and show support from the "highest level".

The rebels have waged a bloody insurgency for self-rule in southern Mindanao region, homeland of minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.