Peace negotiators arrive in Oslo

OSLO, Norway. Peace negotiators of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines begun arriving in the Norwegian capital for the start of the second round of formal peace negotiations starting tomorrow.

At exactly noon today, three GRP panellists arrived at the Holmen Fjordhotell, 25 kilometers outside of Oslo city center with about 30 advisers and staff along with some NDFP advisers who were on the same flight from Manila via Amsterdam.

GRP’s Hernani Braganza, Rene Sarmiento and Angela Trinidad are the most senior negotiators who have already checked in at the venue of the talks.

Twenty three NDFP panelists, consultants and lawyers in turn arrived at three o’clock in the afternoon led by panelist Fidel Agcaoili.

Both parties said they will tackle socio economic reforms, bilateral ceasefire and general amnesty for NDFP-listed political prisoners in the next five days in accordance with their Oslo Joint Statement last August 27 at the conclusion of the first round of talks.

“We are also hopeful that drafts would be exchanged on political and constitutional reforms, social and economic reforms, and end of hostilities and ceasefire,” Sarmiento said.

“Social and economic reforms is the most important item on the agenda, because it will pave the way for the future rounds of talks,” NDFP’s legal adviser Edre Olalia said.

Olalia said the negotiations will also talk about the immediate release of political prisoners, especially those who need to be released under humanitarian considerations.

Both the GRP and the NDFP said that a joint ceasefire may also be agreed upon in this round of talks.

The opening ceremony of the second round of talks is scheduled tomorrow, October 6, at nine o’clock in the morning (four o’clock in Manila). (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Ready for the talks. Peace workers queue at the reception area of the Holmen Fjordhotell in Asker, Oslo, Norway.

Ready for the talks. Peace workers queue at the reception area of the Holmen Fjordhotell in Asker, Oslo, Norway.

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