The Philippine Government and the communist movement NDFP are meeting this week in Rome to continue peace talks. This round of talks, the third since formal negotiations were resumed in summer 2016, will begin on 19 January. It will focus on core issues, such as social and economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms. The parties will also continue discussions on a permanent ceasefire and the release of political prisoners, which have been topics in previous rounds of talks.
Since the resumption of formal negotiations in summer 2016, the parties have managed to reach agreement on a number of key issues. For the first time, the parties announced unilateral ceasefires for an indefinite period, and 19 political prisoners with key positions in the communist movement were released so that they could participate in the talks. The movement’s leadership was gathered together for the first time in 30 years. The parties also reaffirmed their commitment to previous agreements and agreed to speed up the process towards a final peace agreement.
Norway is the formal facilitator of the peace process between the parties, and will facilitate the talks this time, too. The armed conflict between the Philippine Government and the communist movement’s armed wing has lasted for 48 years. Norway has been facilitator of the peace process since 2001.