By Rosette Adel
MANILA, Philippines — The government peace panel and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines negotiating panel on Sunday announced a resumption of peace talks in The Netherlands.
Informal talks between the government and the NDFP were held in Utrecht on March 10 and 11. The meeting was hosted by third party and facilitator Royal Norwegian Government led by Elizabeth Stattum.
In a joint statement released Sunday, the parties agreed to continue formal peace talks and to reinstate their respective unilateral ceasefires.
The fourth round and fifth rounds of the formal peace talks shall be held in the first week of April 2017 and in June 2017 respectively. The unilateral ceasefires shall take effect before the scheduled fourth round of talks in the first week of April 2017 after the respective forces have been informed.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said the declarations of unilateral ceasefires are a prelude to an interim bilateral ceasefire.
The panels will hold further meetings to determine and agree on rules, necessary guidelines and mechanisms for that ceasefire.
“The parties are expected to start discussions on the bilateral ceasefire during the planned resumption of the negotiations during the first week of April, this year,” Dureza said.
The agreement stated that the parties shall take due consideration of the issues and concerns raised by each party in relation to the previous six-month unilateral ceasefire from August 2016 to Februrary 2017.
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