Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte signaled the end of peace talks with Communist rebels, with the government pulling out of the negotiations days after both parties announced an end to the truce, the media reported on Sunday.
Duterte decided to withdraw from the negotiations after the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the outlawed Communist party, carried out attacks against security forces, Efe news reported.
“Peace talks will remain cancelled unless there is a compelling reason that will benefit the interest of the nation,” Duterte said late Saturday.
The attacks occurred after the rebels ended the truce on February 1, causing Duterte to lift the ceasefire – which he had announced after the two parties began the talks – two days later.
In January, the government and the rebels began the third round of negotiations in Rome and were to meet in the Netherlands to discuss a bilateral ceasefire before resuming peace talks in Oslo in April.
“I would like to tell the Filipino people: Peace with the Communists might not come in this generation,” Duterte said.
The main hurdle in the negotiations was the government’s unwillingness to set free 140 political prisoners from the NPA.
The NPA, a Maoist group created in 1969, consists of 6,000 fighters and has carried out numerous attacks, murders, kidnappings and extortion over the last few decades.