Philippines welcomes Reds' interest in peace talks

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2012 11:34 PM | Updated as of Jun 28 2012 10:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government has welcomed the National Democratic Front's (NDF) openness to continue peace talks after a 2-day meeting in Oslo, Norway earlier this month.

It's the first time the communist group expressed willingness to return to the negotiating table since February last year.

Palace Adviser on the Peace Process Ging Deles told ANC Tuesday night that the NDF continues to insist on the release of their jailed consultants, while government's main concern is ending the violence perpetrated by the NDF's armed wing, the New People's Army.

"This is all still preparatory to talks. For government, it's important that if we resume talks it's going to be substantive," she said. "This is still on the informal stage, still laying the ground for hopefully an agreement that it's time we go into real business which is substantive talks."

On peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Deles said the 2 sides will have another meeting next month.

While there's progress in the negotiations, Deles admitted there's still a long way to go before an agreement is finally reached.

"What was clear is now, we're talking details and details are always harder," she said.

"It's easy to agree on principles. The devil is in the details as we will say, so it was not an immediate agreeement," she added.

"But bottom lines were set on certain very ticklish issues such as transition and what was good is that people stayed on the table. There was no threat to stand up and go and positions were exchanged and the agreement was to confer this with the principals," Deles said. - ANC