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Philippines, Muslim rebels hope to finish talks soon on ending decades-long rebellion in south

The Philippine government and the country's largest Muslim rebel group have begun what they hope will be the final round of talks on ending a decades-long rebellion.

Negotiators from Manila and the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front say they hope to iron out differences over the final issues of rebel disarmament and minority Muslim control over resource-rich waters in the negotiations that started Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Philippine presidential adviser Teresita Deles says an agreement on those issues will conclude the yearslong talks and lead to the signing of a peace pact.

Despite the optimism, both sides warned a peace pact would not immediately end violence in the southern Philippines, where at least three other armed Islamic groups operate.