Duterte loses pa­tience with rebel peace talks

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

MANILA, Philip­pines — Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte said on Fri­day that peace talks with rebels are to cease, say­ing the govern­ment is just wast­ing money in ne­go­ti­at­ing with them.

In a speech, Duterte said: “I be­lieve you, Mr. Si­son, We stop talk­ing. We’re wast­ing our time. ... Let us re­new the fight­ing for an­other 50 years. It’s what you want ...”

Duterte was re­fer­ring to Jose Ma. Si­son, the ex­iled found­ing chair­man of the Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines.

“Let us stop talk­ing. I’m tired. It’s a great ex­pense to send peo­ple there for noth­ing. Let’s start fight­ing, stop talk­ing,” the pres­i­dent said.

It came a day af­ter he threat­ened on Thurs­day to launch an of­fen­sive against the rebels af­ter the on­go­ing war to lib­er­ate Marawi City from ex­trem­ists is over.

“There is a resur­gence of at­tacks. They (the com­mu­nist rebels) owe us a lot. I no longer want to talk to them. They have killed many of my po­lice and sol­diers,” Duterte said.

“Once the war in Marawi is fin­ished off, we will re­ori­ent and go af­ter the NPA (New Peo­ple’s Army).”

Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said on Fri­day that

It’s a great ex­pense to send peo­ple there for noth­ing. Let’s start fight­ing, stop talk­ing.” Ro­drigo Duterte, Philip­pine pres­i­dent

peace talks with the rebels are on hold un­til an “en­abling en­vi­ron­ment is achieved”.

The Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion is ap­par­ently an­gered by the re­cent rebel at­tacks against govern­ment se­cu­rity forces.

Last week, rebels at­tacked Duterte’s se­cu­rity men in Arakan, which re­sulted in the killing of a mili­tia­man and wound­ing of five guards.

The Com­mu­nist Party of the Philip­pines and its NPA guer­ril­las have been fight­ing the govern­ment since 1969. The NPA con­cen­trates its at­tacks in ru­ral ar­eas.

Pre­vi­ous at­tempts to forge a peace pact with the com­mu­nist rebels have failed.

LUIS ACOSTA / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Colom­bian sol­diers take part in a mil­i­tary pa­rade to cel­e­brate the coun­try’s 207th In­de­pen­dence Day in Bo­gota on Thurs­day.

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