MANILA, Philippines, Feb. 15 – The Philippines government is set to hold negotiations today with the country's Communist rebels, their first formal peace talks for six years. Two branches of the Communist party in the Philippines, the Central Committee and the Military Commission of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the National Executive Committee of the National Democratic Front said Saturday they would have a weeklong armistice while formal peace talks with the Aquino government resume in Oslo, The Philippine Star reported in its Tuesday edition.
The two sides are scheduled to meet in Oslo, expecting to end one of Asia's longest running insurgencies, 40 years of fighting in which some 40,000 people have been killed. Economic and political reforms will be the focal point of the fresh talks.
The cease-fire will take effect Tuesday through Feb. 21, the conclusion of the peace talks. The Communist Party of the Philippines said the move was made "as a confidence and goodwill measure to mark the resumption of the formal talks."