Vastavam web: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has cancelled all future peace talks with communist rebels waging one of Asia’s longest insurgencies, in a blow to efforts to end the half century-long conflict.In a speech yesterday night, Duterte criticised the insurgents over deadly attacks against soldiers and police while threatening to categorise them as a “terrorist” group.Peace talks to end the conflict, which the military says has claimed 30,000 lives, have been conducted on and off for three decades.
They were revived last year after Duterte a self- declared socialist was elected president, with Norway and the Netherlands hosting the negotiations.
“You tell the guys there in the Netherlands: I am no longer available for any official talk. Let’s just go to war,” Duterte added Tuesday, referring to rebel leaders living in European exile.His peace adviser Jesus Dureza on Wednesday confirmed Duterte’s latest decision in a statement but declined to say if further meetings had been scheduled.
The president said a rebel ambush in the southern Philippines this month had killed a police officer and four- month-old baby.”If you behave like that and we will go to war even the civilians are being dragged into this then we should just stop talking.”He added Tuesday he would issue a proclamation declaring the rebels a “terrorist” organisation and order the arrest of more than a dozen rebel leaders he had freed last year.