Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Politics Philippines: Peace Talks: Govt negotiates on one front with Maoists, on the other with Islamicists

Long-awaited Philippine peace talks resume
OSLO, Norway — The Philippine government and [Maoist] communist rebels meet near Oslo Tuesday for their first peace talks in six years, but amid continuing fighting, observers have played down expectations.
The two sides finally agreed last month to talks, the first since 2004, in a bid to end the decades-old rebellion which has claimed thousands of lives.
President Benigno Aquino's administration expressed hopes that the festering conflict would be over by 2014, but the fact that fighting has persisted is a bad sign for the already slow-moving peace process.
Norway's government on Monday described the new closed-door talks as "a breakthrough" in efforts to end a conflict that has continued for more than 40 years.
But just hours ahead of the talks, the Philippine army announced the capture of a senior guerilla leader, Alan Jasminez, a central committee member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
He will stand trial for rebellion, armed forces chief of staff General Ricardo David said, while a police statement said he also faced 13 murder charges. The rebels had no immediate comment on his detention.  ...
The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), launched their uprising in 1969, in a conflict which has killed tens of thousands of people, according to military estimates.
About 5,000 NPA rebels continue to fight, mainly in the poorest areas of the Philippines, earning funds primarily through extortion from businesses and provincial politicians.
Since 1986, successive Philippine administrations have held peace talks with the communists through their Netherlands-based political arm, the National Democratic Front (NDF).
Voice of America (Feb11,2k11)

Philippines Peace Talks Resume

MILF leader Murad is escorted by his followers at the rebels' main camp in Camp Darapanan in southern Philippines, February 5, 2011
Photo: Reuters
MILF leader Murad is escorted by his followers at the rebels' main camp in Camp Darapanan in southern Philippines, February 5, 2011
The Philippine government and a Muslim separatist group say they hope to lay the groundwork for lasting peace this year. 

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front says the “comprehensive compact” it submitted to the Philippine government proposes solutions to ending its fight for self-determination in the southern island of Mindanao.

Marvic Leonen is chief peace negotiator for Philippine President Benigno Aquino.  He says his team will study the MILF position closely.

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