PH 'committed to peace,' Duterte tells Norway envoy
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte stressed to Norway's special envoy to the peace process, Idun Tvedt, that the Philippines is "committed to peace" even after he formally ended peace talks with communist rebels.
"The President stressed that the Philippines is committed to peace," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement Friday, February 16.
The hour-long meeting between Duterte and Tvedt took place at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on Thursday, February 15.
Roque described Tvedt's courtesy call as "warm and open," as Tvedt said it was "productive."
Roque said Tvedt reiterated Norway's commitment "to assist the Philippines in its peace process" with communist rebels.
"The President welcomed Norway's expression of commitment and stressed that the goal of peace must be achieved with due regard for the national interest of the Philippines," Duterte's spokesman said.
Their meeting comes 3 months after Duterte formally terminated the government's peace negotiation with communists, following the death of a 4-month old baby in an ambush by the communist New People's Army (NPA) in Bukidnon.
Peace talks have been conducted on and off for 30 years, and were temporarily revived after Duterte, a self-declared socialist, was elected President. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com