From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 19): Norway can continue as 3rd party facilitator: Palace
Malacañang clarified that Norway can continue as third party facilitator of the peace talks between the Philippine government and communist group.
"Norway can continue to the Philippines as a third party facilitator of the peace talks, as mentioned during this (Monday) morning's press briefing,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement Monday night.
During Monday’s press briefing, Roque was asked if a third party is still needed at the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“Wala na po siguro, nandito na naman tayo sa Pilipinas (Perhaps there is no need, anyway we are here in the Philippines),” Roque said.
He further quoted from the transcript of his media briefing: “Pero (but) you know, any party who wants to help any and who’s been involved in the process can help. Pero ang punto lang ni President eh hindi niya na maintindihan kung bakit kinakailangan pa sa ibang bansa ‘no ang pag-uusap (The point of the President was he cannot understand why there is a need to hold the talks in another country).”
“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,” Roque said.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte recently invited self-exiled CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison to return home for talks.
In a separate press statement, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza also clarified that Norway will remain as a facilitator of the 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. It is an example of irresponsible journalism," Dureza said.
Dureza is attending an International Forum on Conflict Mediation in Oslo, Norway.
He expressed the Philippines’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,” Dureza said.
“Norway, in spite of the challenges we face in the long negotiations, has remained patient, resilient and steadfast in its help to the Filipino people,” he added.
Last week, Dureza announced the postponement of the resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels to engage the public more in the peace process.
Duterte added that he needs “a little more time” but promised to pursue his commitment to talk with the “enemies of the state.”
The resumption of peace talks with the Reds was supposed to be held later this month.