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4th round of GRP-NDFP talks in The Netherlands April 2-6 - Norway

Chief peace negotiators Fidel Agcaoili of the NDFP and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III of the government shake hands during an earlier round of talks. (file photo by Kodao Productions)
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Government and communist rebel negotiators will meet in The Netherlands from April 2 to 6 for the fourth round of formal peace negotiations, the Norwegian embassy in Manila said Tuesday.

The talks will be held in the town of Noordwijk, the embassy said in a statement. Norway has been the third-party facilitator of the negotiations to seek a peaceful settlement the close to 50-year old communist armed struggle since 2001.

The decision to resume the talks, which President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered terminated following the lifting of both parties’ respective unilateral ceasefires in early February, was arrived at during informal talks in Utrecht earlier this month.

Since then, fighting between government forces and the New People’s Army has escalated.

“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,” Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner said in the statement.

Aside from tackling social and economic reforms, the second substantive agenda of the negotiations, the negotiating panels are also expected to try to forge a bilateral ceasefire agreement.