Gov't talking to CPP-NDF to resume peace negotiations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 8) — Representatives of the government and communist rebels are holding talks for the possible resumption of peace negotiations, six months after President Rodrigo Duterte walked away from the talks.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in a statement on Tuesday confirmed that "informal back channel talks" are now taking place in Europe, but did not specify the place.

"Our team is now in Europe and we are informed that there are initial positive results so far," said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.

Government Peace Panel Chairman Silvestre Bello III said the team is determined to meet the deadline set by the President. On April 5, Duterte announced the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF), have 60 days to restart the talks.

The NDF represents rebels in talks to end the armed conflict which has been going on for 48 years, the longest-running in Asia. It welcomed the possible resumption of peace talks.

Duterte issued Proclamation 360 in November 2017 ending the on-off negotiations with communist rebels. It was the first time in 18 years that peace talks had been terminated.

READ: How peace talks with communist rebels failed  

Duterte issued another proclamation in December that year, this time declaring the CPP and its armed wing New People's Army (NPA) a terrorist organization. This designation will be official once approved by a regional trial court, according to the Human Security Act of 2007.

The petition to formally declare communist rebels as terrorists may be held in abeyance should peace talks resume, Malacañang has said.