RealNews

Philippine communist rebels downplay pre-election peace pact

Communist rebels in the Philippines poured cold water on hopes that they would sign a peace treaty ending their 35-year insurgency before the May presidential election. The May 10 target “is not realistic,” chief National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiator Luis Jalandoni said, on the eve of formal negotiations to be hosted by Norway on Tuesday. Speaking over DZRH radio by telephone from his base in Utrecht in the Netherlands, he said the two sides would be lucky to complete 50 percent of the issues on the table before then. President Gloria Arroyo on Sunday gave a formal send-off to the government’s negotiating team as they flew to the neutral venue of Oslo. Leading Manila newspapers on Monday suggested that a peace pact could be reached before May 10, when Arroyo will be standing in a six-cornered presidential electoral contest. Full Story

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