Western governments have long worried over the presence of small numbers of al-Qaida-linked militants from the Middle East and Southeast Asia seeking combat training and collaboration with the Filipino insurgents.
One of those extremist groups, the Abu Sayyaf, is not part of any negotiations, but the hope is that the peace agreement will isolate its militants and deny them sanctuary and logistical support they had previously received from rebel commanders.
One of those hardline commanders, Ameril Umbra Kato, broke off from the main Moro insurgents last year. Kato's forces attacked the army in August, prompting an offensive that killed more than 50 fighters in the 200-strong rebel faction.
Abu Misri Mammah, a spokesman for Kato's forces, said Sunday that his group does not recognize the peace accord.
"That's a surrender," he said. "We won't waver from our armed struggle and continue to aspire for a separate Muslim homeland that won't be a creation of politicians."
Mastura said that rebel leaders have to forge a strong peace deal that could withstand any opposition.
"It is easy, just gather a few men and disturb, because there are many firearms around. But that's not the mainstream line," Mastura said. "That is why we have to show that this is the way rather than their way."
Iqbal has said his group would not lay down its weapons until a final peace accord is concluded. He said the insurgents could form a political party and run in democratic elections to get a chance at leading the autonomous region.
Associated Press writer Oliver Teves contributed to this report.
- Freelancers and millennials help usher in the...
- John Lennon's killer: My life is all about...
- Running again? Mitt Romney tells Hugh Hewitt...
- Student evades monitors, spreads Ebola to...
- Mexico authorities stage midnight migrant raid
- It's about time the government recognize the...
- US delivers military aid to Lebanese army
- Washington city fights to keep legal...
- A New York Times article said Michael... 43
- Running again? Mitt Romney tells Hugh... 36
- 10 things to know about corporate... 32
- For the first time in American history,... 30
- Doug Robinson: When did Missouri turn... 25
- Obama tamps down prospect of strikes in... 16
- Why the poverty cycle is harder to... 15
- Winning plaintiffs in 3 states want... 14