Malaysia called on Tuesday for maintaining peace in the Philippines, despite a temporary restraining order by the latter's Supreme Court that halted a territorial deal between the government and Muslims.
The latest setback for peace in the nation's volatile south came just a day before the agreement between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country's largest Muslim group, was set to be signed in Kuala Lumpur after more than 10 years of stop-start talks.
Malaysia has been brokering the talks between the two sides, and the proposed deal was meant to formally re-open negotiations to end a near 40-year battle.
"There ought not to be violence," Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim told reporters in Malaysia's administrative capital, Putrajaya.
Expressing his disappointment over the halting of the landmark deal, Rais said he hoped that it was a "purely temporary impasse".
"This is a set back which should be overcome soon," he said.
Philippine Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo, who was due to witness the signing but instead held talks with his Malaysian counterpart, said the pact was constitutional.
"The memorandum of agreement which was supposed to be signed today is ... within the constitutional authority and within the legal authority," he said.
"We stand by that, that is why we are confident our supreme court will find this to be resolved."
Philippines conflict has killed more than 120,000 people, displaced 2 million, and kept the most resource-rich region of the country dirt poor.
Last Mod: 05 Ağustos 2008, 12:10