The Philippine Supreme Court has rejected a government agreement that would have given Muslim separatists more autonomy on the southern island of Mindanao.

A court ruling Tuesday said the August 4 agreement was unconstitutional and could lead to the partition of the country.  Eight of the court's 15 judges approved the ruling.

Shortly after the deal was signed in August, the court issued an injunction citing protests from Christian politicians in the south.

The move angered Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who went on a violent rampage killing dozens of people.

In response, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suspended autonomy talks with the MILF rebels.

The MILF and the Philippine government have been negotiating on and off since 1997 on ways to give Muslims more self rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.