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Philippine leader seeks Norway's help in peace talks

Published on Jan 9, 2014 8:18 PM
Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary (L) Albert del Rosario shakes hands with Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende (R) as he arrives at the DFA building in Manila on January 9, 2014. --PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (AFP) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino Thursday sought Norway's help in reviving failed peace talks with Maoist guerrillas, a senior presidential aide said, nearly a year after peace talks hosted by Oslo fell apart.

Mr Aquino met Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende in the Philippine capital after the visiting diplomat said Norway remained committed to mediating negotiations between Manila and the National Democratic Front in a bid to end the decades-long insurgency.

"While serious problems have confronted and continue to challenge this particular peace process, the president affirmed the government's commitment to pursue a peaceful settlement of all internal armed conflict," Teresita Deles, Mr Aquino's principal adviser on the talks, said after the meeting.

The Maoist insurgency has claimed 30,000 lives since 1969 according to government estimates, though its armed force is down to about 4,000 guerrillas from more than 26,000 in the late 1980s.

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