Dureza: Norway still third-party facilitator in peace talks with Reds
Norway remains the third-party facilitator in the peace talks between the Philippine government and the communist rebels, Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza said on Monday night.
Dureza issued the statement hours after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing that Malacañang no longer saw the need to have a third-party facilitator in the resumption of peace talks.
“The media report saying Norway is being removed or is no longer a ‘facilitator’ in the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the communist rebels is a total fabrication,” Dureza said in statement. “It is an example of irresponsible journalism.”
But it was Roque who told reporters that there was no need for a third-party facilitator since President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the peace talks to be in the Philippines,
“Wala na po siguro, nandito na naman tayo sa Pilipinas,” he answered when asked if the government would still need a third-party facilitator after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would want the resumption of peace negotiations to be in the Philippines instead of Norway.
Norway is the third-party facilitator between the peace negotiations Philippine government and communists.
Despite having no third-party facilitator, Roque said “any party” willing to help would be welcome.
“Any party who wants to help and who has been involved in the process can help,” he said during the briefing.
Roque downplayed his statement on no longer having the need for a third-party facilitator.
“Norway can continue to help the Philippines as a third-party facilitator of the peace talks, as I mentioned during this morning’s press briefing,” he said in a statement on Monday night.
“We hope this sets the record straight that what I said is any peace negotiation that would be entered into by the Philippine government and communist rebels should be held inside the country. I was referring to the venue,” he added.
Dureza said he was in Norway to attend the “International Forum on Conflict Mediation “and to express our country’s gratitude for Norway’s significant and continuing support to the long drawn peace negotiations with the left.”
“I am also here to explain to them the reason why the planned resumption of the peace talks discussed during backchannel meetings, was reset,” he said.
“Norway, inspite of the challenges we face in the long negotiations have remained patient, resilient and steadfast in its help to the Filipino people,” he added. /atm
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