Philippines agrees to new ceasefire with rebels ahead of peace talks | News | DW | 20.08.2016
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Philippines agrees to new ceasefire with rebels ahead of peace talks

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed to a new ceasefire with Maoist rebels. The move comes shortly before peace talks are to take place in Oslo.

Duterte's announcement on Saturday came shortly after the rebels agreed to their own truce earlier that day.

"The president has already walked an extra mile for peace," a presidential spokesman said. "He is glad that the [rebels] showed a similar gesture of goodwill as a sign of sincerity to the peace process on the eve of our talks in Oslo, Norway."

Manila had called off its original ceasefire in late July after the militants killed a government militiaman and then failed to respond to a deadline to announce its own truce.

Next week, the president will meet with the head of the National Democratic Front in Oslo in an effort to mend ties with the rebel group, who have been fighting the government on and off since the 1960s.

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Stalled peace

Peace talks were originally set to take place in Oslo four years ago, but were delayed when Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino, refused to release rebels detained by the government.

The government's peace advisor, Jesus Dureza, said the purpose of the talks was to instate mechanisms that would prevent further conflict.

The militants said that a peace agreement hinges on Manila releasing 550 current political prisoners.

Hours before the two sides announced their most recent truce, government forces killed four rebels while on patrol outside of Manila.

blc/rc (AFP, dpa, AP)

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