The Philippines government hopes to resume peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Norway this month, though neither side has given ground on the main issue to have stalled the process, chief peace negotiator Alexander Padilla told AFP.
Two days after announcing a breakthrough in negotiations with Muslim insurgents, the Philippines government said on 9 October it hoped to resume peace talks with communist rebels.
“We would like to press ahead with our talks with the communists but we are calling on them to drop all preconditions,” Padilla said.
He said both sides tentatively agreed earlier this year to hold talks this month. However, the Norwegian government had not yet announced a date and there had been no confirmation from the communists that they would attend.
Talks with the CPP were suspended in November last year due to continued rebel demands to free jailed comrades they claimed were consultants to the negotiations.
Padilla said the government was hoping to use the momentum of a roadmap for peace agreed at the weekend with the 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a Muslim separatist rebel group.
“This framework peace agreement with the MILF shows the sincerity of the government in reaching an accord with any armed groups,” Padilla said.
President Benigno Aquino, who won national elections in 2010, has vowed to end all insurgencies during his six-year term, and Padilla said the government still hopes to achieve that goal by signing a peace deal with the communists within 2016.
Tens of thousands of people have died in both insurgencies over the past four decades.