Sison wants peace talks to resume in ‘country near PH’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 12) — Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison said they are open to resuming peace negotiations with the government “in a country near the Philippines.”

Sison said the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), a coalition of organizations linked to the CPP which represents it in peace talks, has agreed to resume negotiations with the government “provided certain issues are first settled.”

He added that he will meet President Rodrigo Duterte “at a certain point in time,” but would want to meet somewhere near the Philippines first.

“It is a goal worth aiming for in order to accelerate progress in the peace negotiations. There is yet no clear schedule for the face to face meeting,” Sison said.

Since the Philippine government began negotiating with the communist rebels during the time of President Corazon Aquino in 1986, talks between the two camps were always held in Europe.

Sison had been in self-exile in the Netherlands and he and other communist rebels have staunchly objected to peace talks being held in the Philippines.

Labor Secretary and former peace negotiator Silvestre Bello had said peace talks with communist rebels are likely to resume next year.

Duterte had said that he will send Bello and the rest of the government peace panel to negotiate with Sison in March.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.