4th round of PH, NDF talks to be held in the Netherlands
MANILA, Philippines – The 4th round of formal talks between negotiators of the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) will be held in the town of Noordwijk in the Netherlands from April 2 to 6.
Ambassador Erik Førner of Norway, the 3rd country facilitator of the peace process, committed that Norway will continue to support the talks that aim to end Asia's longest-running communist insurgency.
"I am pleased that representatives of the Philippine Government and the NDFP will meet for a new round of talks. Despite challenges along the way, the parties continue to show their commitment to peace. Norway will continue to assist the parties as the third party facilitator of the peace process," Førner said in a statement on Tuesday, March 21.
The 4th round of talks comes after setbacks in the past two months. President Rodrigo Duterte had scrapped the talks after the communist armed wing New People's Army (NPA) withdrew from a 5-month-long ceasefire, but later changed his mind and agreed to resume negotiations.
Førner said the talks will focus on a bilateral ceasefire agreement that will put in place common rules for the military and the NPA.
It will also focus on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), considered the heart and soul of the peace process. It aims to address the root causes of conflict. (READ: PH, NDF talks: Both sides need to make painful compromises)
Norway has been the 3rd country facilitator since 2001. The country hosts formal and informal meetings between the negotiators, and takes the initiative to bring the two parties back to the negotiating table when talks break down. (READ: Norwegian faciliator 'cautiously optimistic' about PH, NDF talks) – Rappler.com