UN chief calls new region in Philippines 'a landmark'

UN chief calls new region in Philippines 'a landmark'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. (Reuters file photo)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling a new law in the Philippines creating a Muslim autonomous region "a landmark achievement on the road to lasting peace" in the country's troubled south.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed legislation Thursday establishing the Bangsamoro region, culminating over two decades of negotiations under four presidents. The new region is aimed at settling nearly half a century of Muslim unrest in the south.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday "the United Nations will continue to support the Philippines in the implementation of the law, and to help build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as an effective conduit for peace, democratic governance, and human rights."

He said Guterres congratulates negotiators including the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.