Monday, August 24, 2009

NPA demands release of comrades before peace talks with govt.

It seems the government has not kept its part of the preconditions for beginning of talks. No doubt some in the AFP or others objected to the whole idea of peace talks and are trying to sabotage them. Or perhaps the US is putting pressure on Arroyo for negotiating with terrorists. It is because of refusal of the Philippine govt. to ask the US and Europe to take the NPA to be taken off the terror list that the original talks broke off. NPA means New People's Army who are Maoist insurgents operating in quite a few areas of the Philippines mainly rural.

Philippine rebels demand release of comrades
(AFP) – 2 days ago
MANILA — Philippine communist rebels said on Saturday they would not resume talks with the government unless detained comrades were freed.
The government has "rendered extremely difficult or even impossible the resumption of formal talks" because it has failed to release 14 senior communist leaders detained on various charges, said Jose Maria Sison, the Netherlands-based founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
"The formal resumption of talks cannot be held in August and probably can never be held in the remaining months of the Arroyo regime," unless they are freed, Sison said in a statement.
He said the 14 were rebel "consultants" on the talks and among 96 insurgents the government had agreed in July would be given immunity from arrest.
Their continued detention is considered an "impediment" to the talks, Sison said.
Peace talks with the CPP, and its armed wing the New People's Army (NPA), have been suspended since 2005 after the government refused to ask the EU and the United States to remove them from their foreign terrorist watchlist.
But President Gloria Arroyo's chief adviser on the talks early this month announced that both sides had agreed to resume negotiations, and promised that some jailed communist leaders would be freed.
The CPP-NPA has been waging a Maoist campaign in the Philippines since 1969, in what is Asia's longest running communist insurgency. The NPA's strength has fallen to about 5,000 fighters from a high of about 16,000 in the mid-1980s

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