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Philippines, Muslim rebels announce preliminary peace pact in marathon talks

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III says his government has reached a preliminary peace agreement with the country's largest Muslim rebel group in a major breakthrough toward ending a decades-long insurgency.

Aquino described the deal in a nationally televised announcement Sunday as a road map for establishing a new autonomous region to be administered by minority Muslims in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation's south.

It follows marathon negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia, which is brokering the talks.

The agreement is expected to be signed in a few days in Manila. It spells out the general principles on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory of the Muslim region. If all goes well, a final peace deal could be reached by 2016.