13 Feb '11, 2am

Philippine to start rebel peace talks

MANILA: The Philippine government and communist rebels will begin peace talks in Norway this week, but analysts say recent deadly clashes show there is no chance of a quick end to the decades-long insurgency. After a breakthrough last month in which the two sides agreed to negotiate for the first time in six years, Philippine President Benigno Aquino's administration voiced hope that the conflict would be over by 2014. "Our most optimistic projection is that... substantive agreements can be reached in 18 months' time and peace achievable in three years," chief government negotiator Alexander Padilla said on Friday before flying to Oslo. But less than a week after the foes agreed to meet, communist rebels killed five policemen in a well-planned ambush in a northern Philippine town. The assault marked the start of an offensive across the country that the military said left a...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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