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EU backs peace with communists rebels, ready to help implement truce

/ 10:35 PM April 08, 2017

The European Union has expressed support for negotiations to end one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies and indicated willingness to help implement a ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and communist rebels.

A spokesperson for EU Commission Vice President Federica Morgherini issued the statement on Thursday at the end of the fourth round of talks in the Netherlands between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

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The statement described the commitment of both sides to forge an interim ceasefire deal “an encouraging step.”.

“This interim agreement demonstrates the power of political processes to resolve conflict,” the statement, which was issued in Brussels, Belgium, said.

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It added that the accord would generate goodwill and trust in the peace negotiations and encourage “the forging of a more stable and comprehensive joint ceasefire agreement and provide an enabling environment for an early signing of a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms.”

“If asked, the EU stands ready to support the implementation of the agreement,” it added, without elaborating on what role it might play in any ceasefire deal.

On Wednesday, government and NDFP negotiators signed an agreement to forge an interim joint ceasefire, along with a broad accord on socioeconomic reforms within the year.

The temporary ceasefire will be effective until a permanent truce could be established.

The peace talks are being brokered by the Norwegian government, which may be asked by both sides to act as third-party monitor of a future ceasefire agreement.

Norway is not a member of the EU. But it has strong economic ties to the bloc, which has long supported the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro rebels in Mindanao.

The EU, however, has come under fire from President Rodrigo Duterte after its parliament expressed concern over alleged extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs and called for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima, who is detained under drug charges. /atm

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TAGS: European Union, NDFP, Philippine peace talks
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