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Sison: Backchannel talks ‘successful’

THE backchannel talks between the government and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panels were “successful,” according to exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison.

“Successful. Ask the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) negotiating panel [and]please wait for the joint GRP-NDFP announcement,” Sison told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the status of the talks.

The backchannel talks began in The Netherlands where the two sides discussed the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (Caser).

Sison said that if the backchannel talks would be fruitful, a stand-down agreement between the two parties would be declared.

The stand-down agreement would be the first step towards a bilateral ceasefire.

Sison said the next step was a coordinated unilateral ceasefire (CUC) upon the approval of the interim peace agreement and all the provisions under Caser.

After a CUC, the two sides will be declaring a bilateral ceasefire in which both the military and the communist rebels would stop fighting. DEMPSEY REYES

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