Mon, Aug 27, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Malaysian minister calls for resumption of Philippines talks

AFP , KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia's foreign minister has called for the swift resumption of peace talks between the Philippines and Muslim rebels that were suspended last week.

Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) had been due to resume in Malaysia on Wednesday, but the Philippine government said it needed time to "clarify" some issues.

Talks may take place next month instead.

"It requires faith on the part of the parties involved," Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said late on Saturday.

"I think whatever caused the failure of these talks should be identified quickly so that resumption of the negotiations can begin," Albar said.

Muslim-majority Malaysia, an influential member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has been helping to broker peace talks between Manila and the MILF, which has fought for decades in the south Philippines.

The 12,000-strong MILF said late last year that the talks were on the brink of collapse over its demands for economic control of ancestral lands on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao.

Last month, MILF guerrillas backed by members of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf killed 14 Filipino Marines in an ambush on the island of Basilan, despite a three-year-old ceasefire with the government.

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