THE Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have agreed on a new venue and the final dates of their fourth round of formal negotiations.
In a press statement, Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Førner said the talks will be held at the town of Noordwijk in the Netherlands on April 2 to 6.
“I am pleased that representatives of the Philippine Government and the NDFP will meet for a new round of talks. Despite challenges along the way, the parties continue to show their commitment to peace,” Førner said.
“This will be the fourth round of talks since formal negotiations were resumed summer 2016. This round will focus on issues such as social and economic reforms and a bilateral ceasefire agreement,” Førner added.
NDFP chief negotiator Fidel Agcaoili told Kodao the decision to hold the fourth round of talks in The Netherlands was to ensure the full participation of their chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison.
Sison is currently recovering from an illness.
“Checking out of UMC (Utrecht Medical Center) today. Healthy and in working condition for the fourth round of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations,” Sison announced on his Facebook page today.
Located west of The Netherlands, Noordwijk is an old and historic town famous as for its tulip farms and beaches. Wikipedia describes the town as the “floral seaside resort of Europe.”
The talks will be chaired by the Norwegian Special Envoy to the Philippine peace process, Ambasador Elisabeth Slåttum.
The Norwegian government has acted as the Third Party Facilitator to the GRP-NDFP peace process since 2001. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)