Philippines cancels peace deal with Muslim group

  • World
  • Thursday, 21 Aug 2008

MYT 2:32:07 PM

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine government has cancelled a peace deal with the country's biggest Muslim rebel group after fighting broke out this week but is willing to re-negotiate, a government spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The peace deal, agreed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last month, was later halted by the Supreme Court pending a verdict on an appeal by Christian groups that it was unconstitutional.

Philippine's President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo gives speaks during a briefing inside the Malacanang palace in Manila August 18, 2008. (REUTERS/Malacanang Palace/Handout)

Earlier this week, about 40 people were killed when MILF renegades, angered at the stalling of the agreement, attacked two towns in the volatile south of the country.

"The cancellation of the memorandum of agreement is a painful step in our collective effort to come to an agreement with the MILF," Lorelei Fajardo, a spokeswoman for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said in a statement to reporters.

"She (Arroyo) will seek a new agreement within the boundaries of law set within the constitution. Furthermore, the president will not allow adventurism by MILF forces to pressure government to sign any agreement even if it is for peace."

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