Representatives from the incoming Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) met in Oslo, Norway, 14-15 June and agreed to resume formal talks the third week of July 2016.
“I am pleased that the incoming Philippine government and the NDFP have agreed to resume formal peace talks. There is clearly new optimism in the process, but there are also challenges ahead. Norway remains committed to continue to assist the parties as the third party facilitator”, stated Erik Førner, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines.
During the exploratory talks this week, the incoming administration was represented by incoming peace adviser Jesus Dureza and the future head of the government’s peace panel Silvestre Bello III. The NDFP delegation was led by Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni. Special Envoy Elisabeth Slåttum, the Norwegian facilitator for the GPH-NDFP peace talks, hosted the meetings in Oslo.
The talks took place in understanding with the outgoing Philippine administration.
According to the joint statement released by the parties after the meetings, the formal peace talks in July will take place in Oslo and focus on discussion of the affirmation of previously signed agreements, an accelerated process for negotiations, reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) list, release of political prisoners, and the mode of an interim ceasefire.
“There is evident shared optimism on both sides due to the declaration of President-Elect Rody Duterte to seek an early sustainable peace for the nation,” Dureza said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Norway has been involved in the peace process as the third party facilitator since 2001. The previous round of formal talks took place in 2011.