Norway to Host Philippine Peace Talks

The Philippine government is planning to pursue more ceasefire
agreements
with the New People’s Army (NPA) throughout the course of
the peace
negotiations with the communist-led umbrella group National
Democratic Front
of the Philippines (NDFP).

The peace talks are slated to start with
informal meetings from
January 14 to 19, and lead to formal talks from
February 15 to 21.
Both sets of talks are to be held in Oslo, Norway, with
the Norwegian
government brokering the negotiations.

In an interview
with GMANews.TV, chief government negotiator Alexander
Padilla said he was
“hoping” that the NDFP would agree on observing a
ceasefire whenever the two
panels would go into a meeting.

“The longer and the more frequent the
ceasefires are, it’s always
better,” Padilla said, adding that the goal is to
have “more frequent
ceasefires” throughout the entire run of the peace talks,
which he
estimated to last for three years.

“Our time frame is no
longer than three years. What we need here is a
political solution and we
have to achieve this during the remainder of
President Benigno Aquino III’s
term,” Padilla said.

He said that while the proposed ceasefires would
only be observed
during periods when there are scheduled meetings between the
two
panels and not on any other dates, “it is still better than having
no
truce at all.”

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