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Philippines and communist rebels agree to resume peace talks

The Philippine government and communist rebels have agreed to resume peace talks and reinstate a ceasefire. The peace process to end one of the world's longest running conflicts collapsed in February.

Negotiators from the Philippine government and communist rebels on Sunday agreed to resume peace talks, a month after President Rodrigo Duterte called off negotiations.

The government and communist-led National Democratic Front also agreed to reinstate a ceasefire before the next round of peace talks in April, a joint statement said.

"The parties shall continue the formal peace talks and reiterate their reaffirmation of all bilateral agreements and statements" made before peace talks collapsed last month, the statement said.

The agreement was reached after negotiators met on Friday and Saturday in Utrecht, Netherlands, where the communist leadership in exile is based.

Duterte opened peace talks with the rebels shortly after taking office last June.

To pave the way for negotiations, the Philippine government released imprisoned rebel leaders and negotiators, meeting a key demand of the communists.

However, Duterte called off talks in February after a series of rebel attacks killed soldiers.

The joint statement also said a rebel negotiator would be released from prison.

The Norwegian government mediated peace talks will resume in April and June, both sides said.

The communist insurgency began in the late 1960s and is one of the world's longest running conflicts. Some 30,000 people have been killed, according to the military.

cw/rc (AFP, dpa)



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