‘No more peace talks’ says GRP

By Baretang Bikolnon Staff

Government of the Philippines (GRP) Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza announced today the cancellation of “all planned meetings” with the communists, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive that there will be no more peace talks with them.

A source told Kodao that Dureza’s announcement is not a termination of the entire GRP-NDFP peace process, citing the lack of a formal notification from one or both parties submitted to the Royal Norwegian Government, the Third Party Facilitator of the talks.

“There will be no peace negotiations anymore with the CPP/NPA/NDF until such time as the desired enabling environment conducive to a change in the government’s position becomes evident,” Dureza stated.

Dureza again blamed the communists’ unwillingness to reciprocate “unprecedented steps” Duterte has taken to revive the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) despite efforts by both peace panels to resume formal peace negotiations soon.

“Recent tragic and violent incidents all over the country committed by the communist rebels left the President with no other choice but to arrive at this decision. We take guidance from the President’s recent announcements and declarations,” Dureza’s statement said.

Both parties were set to finalize their negotiations on agrarian reform and rural development when Duterte cancelled the scheduled fifth round of formal talks in The Netherlands a few hours before it was set to begin last May.

It is the first time the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) admitted meetings with its counterpart had been afoot.

“This is an unfortunate development in our work for peace. Never before have we all reached this far in our negotiations with them,” Dureza stated.

During his speech before families of soldiers killed in the five-month siege of Marawi in Taguig City, Duterte said he has decided to “cut talks with the NPA (New People’s Army),” armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), as of Monday, November 20.

“Sinabi  ko kay [Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus] Dureza, pati kay (Government of the Republic of the Philippines chief negotiator Silvestre] Bello, ‘You tell the guys there in The Netherlands I am no longer available for any official talks. Gyera na lang tayo,’” Duterte said.

Duterte blamed the communists for issuing “unreasonable demands” while ignoring his own demand for a “stand down”.

NDFP refuses to sign another open-ended bilateral ceasefire agreement without agreements on social and economic as well as political and constitutional reforms.

Duterte is only interested in forcing the NPA to an indefinite ceasefire without addressing the root causes of the armed conflict such as poverty and inequality according to the democratic front.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel has yet to reply Dureza’s latest statement and yet to issue a statement on Duterte’s latest tirade against their group and its effects on efforts to resume formal peace negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Royal Norwegian Government, Third Party Facilitator to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations appointed Diplomat Idun Tvedt as new special envoy that raised hopes for the resumption of the talks. (BaretangBikolnon.com/ with report from Kodao)

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