Philippines: February 19, 2004


The National Democratic Front, representing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its New People's Army (NPA) at peace talks in Norway, threatened to walk out unless it won a government commitment to convince the United States to drop the rebels from its blacklist of foreign terrorist groups. 

After four days, the government and the communists issued a joint statement calling on the US, the European Union, Canada and Australia "to support the efforts of the parties in resolving the outstanding issue of the 'terrorist' listing." 

Defense and armed forces officials strenuously objected, since they believe that removal of the terrorist tag should be done only after the rebels had committed to signing an agreement to end their insurgency. 

Although the Philippine government and Communist insurgents agreed to pursue peace talks on the 14th, rebels have continued to mount attacks against government positions across the country. On the 17th, guerrillas raided an army unit in the northern Philippines (one rebel and one soldier were killed) and the day before, eight policemen and one rebel were killed when the rebels attacked their convoy in Masbate Province (375 kilometers south of Manila). On the 15th, over 50 rebels attacked an army unit on the island of Negros and the day before that, the NPA attacked a police outpost in the southern Philippines. - Adam Geibel 


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