Philippine government, communist rebels to sign ceasefire deal

The Philippine government and Maoist-led rebels will sign an indefinite ceasefire agreement on Friday as part of efforts to end a conflict that has lasted almost five decades and killed at least 40,000 people, Norway said.

Norway's Foreign Ministry, hosting the talks, said the ceasefire would be signed at a ceremony at 0900 GMT in Oslo, extending a truce in place since last weekend for the Oslo meeting which began on Monday.

Representatives of both the government and communist guerrillas would sign a joint declaration committing "to unilateral ceasefires with no time limit", it said. The talks in Norway are the first formal meeting in five years.

"The joint declaration, which has been negotiated in Oslo in recent days, marks the resumption of formal negotations between the new government in the Philippines and the (rebel) National Democratic Front of the Philippines," it said.

Norway has had a role as facilitator for the peace process since 2001. Fitful peace talks have been going on since 1986.

New President Rodrigo Duterte says he wants to end guerrilla wars with both communist and Muslim rebels that have been hampering economic development.

The 3,000-strong New People's Army, the armed wing of the communist party, operates mainly in the east and south of the Philippines.

Makati City in Manila, Philippines
Dondi Tawatao | Getty Images

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