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Peace talks with Reds fruitful, says Dureza

  • Written by Willy M. Balasa
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 261

THE government peace negotiators returned home yesterday and reported that their talks with the communist side were fruitful.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines 9GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) reached agreements on six major agenda taken up at the first round of the formal peace negotiations.
 

The GRP delegation headed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza arrived 1 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on board a Thai International Airways flight from Oslo, Norway via Bangkok, Thailand.
    
Dureza said that both the GRP and the NDF led by its chief political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison agreed on the following: Reaffirmation of Previous Agreements; Reconstitution of the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees [JASIG] List; Acceleration of the Peace Negotiations; Releases of the NDF consultants; Amnesty Proclamation for prisoners listed by the NDF and Indefinite Unilateral Ceasefire.
   
Both parties also agreed to hold talks again from October 8 to 12 also in Oslo.
    
Dureza said the Oslo round is a milestone under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
    
It is an accomplishment, he added, that would be welcomed by the Filipino people.
    
“Not only has President Duterte walked the extra mile. He has also taken a step back to give the NDF space under his democratic and inclusive government. We came home with a promise of a just and lasting peace and our soldiers and the combatants of the NDF finally coming to terms that the war must end,” Dureza said.
    
For his part Silvestre Bello III, Secretary of the Department of Labor and head of the GRP negotiating panel, thanked their counterparts for their patience and candidness. He has been holding formal and backdoor negotiations with them for more than 14 years.
    
Bello said the Philippine government is looking to a final peace agreement with the NDF to end almost half a century of armed hostilities across the Philippine countryside.
    
His remarks were reciprocated by NDF peace panel head Luis Jalandoni who expressed their gratitude towards the determination of President Duterte to end the decades-long communist insurgency and forge peace with the rebel forces.
    
He said the release of 21 detained NDF consultants were crucial in the resumption of the peace negotiations.
    
It was learned that the unprecedented and historic pace and conclusion of the meeting in Oslo left the host Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) very pleased and satisfied.
    
RNG representative Elizabeth Slattum said her government is very pleased with the success of the formal opening rounds of the resumed GRP-NDF peace negotiations.
 
The formal session was the first after five years and it reaffirmed all previously signed agreements between the GRP and the NDF that was started by The Hague Joint Declaration in 1992 followed by JASIG in 1996 and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in 1998.
    
All three documents were signed under the administration of then President Fidel Ramos.