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BACK-CHANNEL TALKS

Agreement on Duterte-Joma meeting in PH revealed

By: - Correspondent / @kmanlupigINQ
/ 07:02 AM June 18, 2018

Communist leader Jose Maria Sison and President Rodrigo Duterte. (INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS)

DAVAO CITY — The government and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) had agreed to set a meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and communist leader Jose Maria “Joma” Sison in the Philippines, documents obtained by the Inquirer on Sunday showed.

That was the plan as early as June 9 until the President on Thursday decided to postpone the talks, citing a need to “consult” the public.

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In a document signed by the government and the NDFP, the parties agreed to form a bilateral preparatory committee to lay the ground for the temporary return of Sison to the country after years of exile in the Netherlands.

After a series of back-channel talks, the parties signed an agreement setting guidelines for the resumption of peace talks between the government and the NDFP in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on June 9.

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The government was represented by Hernani Braganza and the NDFP by its chief negotiator, Fidel Agcaoili.

The back-channel talks and signing of the documents were witnessed by Norway’s special ambassador to the peace process, Idun Tvedt.

Visit of Sison

“Both parties shall cooperate in facilitating the visit of Prof. Jose Maria Sison to the Philippines to confer with … President Rodrigo Duterte and discuss the peace process and other matters, celebrate the conclusion of an interim peace agreement, as well as hold a peace conference at the earliest possible time, subject to the necessary political, legal, security and technical requirements,” the agreement said.

Mr. Duterte has been asking Sison, his former professor, to come home so they could meet and discuss ways to end the five-decade conflict. Sison has also expressed interest in meeting him.

On Saturday, the NDFP made public the agreement on a stand-down for the resumption of  peace talks with the government.

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TAGS: back-channel talks, CPP, Fidel Agcaoili, Hernani Braganza, Jose Maria Sison, NDFP, NPA, Philippine peace talks, Rodrigo Duterte
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