Philippine communists kill two

Communist guerrillas shot dead two people in an attack on a police post in southern Philippines just as the Philippine government and the rebels wrapped up peace talks in Norway, the military said on Sunday.

    Government may meet demands that accord should be signed before May election

    New People's Army (NPA) rebels also seized rifles during the raid on Saturday in which a police officer and a government militiaman were killed, said the army. An NPA gunman also died in the attack. 

    The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its political National Democractic Front.

    The attack came as negotiators from both sides wrapped up four days of peace talks in Norway on an optimistic note. They agreed to resolve the issue of the rebels' inclusion on the US list of foreign terrorists.

    They also decided to create a joint committee to monitor that both sides implement an agreement they signed in 1998 to respect human rights and international humanitarian laws. 

    "The NPA has been on the FTO list for several years now. That's where they belong. They can talk and if they reach a peace accord, then they can get off the list"

    A US diplomat

    Another meeting is set for next month either in Oslo or in China, with government negotiators saying they were willing to relax a demand that a peace accord should be signed before the 10 May presidential vote.

    But a US diplomat told reporters on Saturday the rebels would remain on Washington's foreign terrorist list until a peace accord is signed.

    "The NPA has been on the FTO list several years now. That's
    where they belong. They can talk and if they reach a peace accord, then they can get off the list," the diplomat said. 

    It was not clear how the fresh attack would affect the talks, but the military said it was prepared to counter any rebel offensive.

    Local radio reports also quoted an NPA spokesman as saying rebels would fire on US soldiers participating in joint military training exercises with government.

    SOURCE: AFP


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