MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines said Monday that a peace accord with the government could be forged soon despite recent attempts by a breakaway guerrilla faction to derail the talks.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said more than 50 percent of the issues being tackled by the rebels and government negotiators in Malaysian-brokered talks have been settled in principle.

President Benigno Aquino III has expressed hope that a peace pact can be signed as early as December.

Asked if he shared Aquino’s optimism, Iqbal told The Associated Press that “If the current trend of negotiations will not change, I think it’s highly probable.”

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