Duterte threatens to end peace talks after attack

20 July, 2017, 18:27 | Author: Hope Soto

"The conditions (for their conditional release) provide that should the formal peace negotiations cease or fail, their bond shall be deemed automatically cancelled", it added.

With the cancellation of the "backchannel talks", the prospects for the resumption of the fifth round of formal talks between the government and rebels have further dimmed.

Besides the four wounded PSG personnel, a militiaman was killed during the firefight.

Government officials said the PSG personnel, who were doing "normal administrative movement for coordination", encountered some 50 NPA rebels disguising as soldiers at a checkpoint in Arakan town, Cotabato province.

The communist rebels admitted they staged the checkpoint, and that the firefight occurred because the passengers of the unmarked armored vehicle refused to open the doors.

The Philippine government said Wednesday it has chose to cancel informal talks with leftist rebels scheduled "within the next few days" in Europe in the wake of the series of attacks launched by the rebels against government forces in the past few weeks.

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The government said the fifth round of formal talks may resume next month, saying government negotiators plan to meet informally to decide on the details of the next round of formal talks.

"This includes suspending operations against the military and the police and stopping all their extortion activities on the ground, among others", the statement said.

Duterte had freed more than a dozen rebel leaders so they could fly to Europe and serve as consultants to their peace negotiating team, made up mostly of exiled senior communist figures.

Aside from talking to government troops, Duterte also gave them goods.

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte finally visited Marawi City Thursday, July 20, after two failed attempts to enter the conflict zone, despite the ongoing clashes between the government forces and the Maute group.

Aides said Duterte was not in the convoy when gunmen opened fire on two Presidential Security Group vehicles on the southern island of Mindanao, where troops have also been battling Islamic State group-inspired gunmen for almost two months. Congress is meeting in joint session on Saturday to discuss and vote on the extension.

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