Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte believes it is meaningless that negotiations with the Communist government will take place in Norway when they can meet in the Philippines.
According to Dutertes spokesman Harry Roque, the president believes that the government and left-wing NDF should settle it themselves and hold talks on Philippine soil.
“He does not understand why we will continue to talk together in Norway. We can talk about this in the Philippines, said Roque at a press conference in the Presidential Palace Monday, according to GMA News Online.
He also said that meeting in Norway only involves costs for the president, money that can instead be used for boarding and lodging for NDF representatives in the Philippines.
Hardly neutral broker
Asking if a neutral third party will be used in future negotiations, Roque answers “maybe not”, while stressing that anyone who wants to help and who has been involved in the process can contribute.
According to the spokesman, the Philippine government will inform Norwegian authorities that the place of negotiations has changed. He also said that a committee should be set up to negotiate, and that this committee should also be responsible for logistics.
The leader of the Forbidden Communist Party CPP, José Maria Sison, opposes negotiations in the Philippines. He believes that this will undermine the peace process and attempt to end the 50-year-old communist uprising.
Greeted in Oslo
Norway has acted as facilitator since 2001, and the parties have met each other in Oslo and surrounding areas.
However, a few months ago, Duterte announced that the negotiations had been put on ice, which led, among other things, to communist leaders losing their legal immunity. In February this year, guerrilla leader Rafael Baylosis was arrested.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry emphasized that Norway has not yet given up the hope that the parties will find their way back to the negotiating table and that Norwegian authorities are still ready to assist.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today