Oct 212014


Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05MANILA4137 2005-09-05 08:33 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Manila
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 004137



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2015


Classified By: Political Officer Joseph Saus for
reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Summary. After painting themselves in a corner, the
National Democratic Front (NDF) — the negotiating arm of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing
the New People’s Army (NPA) — has agreed to resume formal
talks, though an exact date is yet to be determined. The GRP
reinstated its security guarantees that were set to lapse on
September 3. Norwegian facilitation efforts and shuttle
diplomacy proved effective in bringing both sides together to
commit to a resumption of formal talks. These commitments,
however, are a far cry from a lasting peace agreement as the
sides will need to settle the contentious issues of a
permanent ceasefire and (given the current domestic political
climate) a difficult-to-implement social and economic reform
agenda. End Summary

Norwegians Greasing The Skids

¶2. (C) On September 6, poloff met with Norwegian First
Secretary Larissa Kosanovic to discuss the recent impasse in

the GRP-NDF peace talks (reftel). Kosanovic stressed Oslo’s
view that the NDF “really painted themselves in a corner” in
pulling out of peace talks with the GRP by declaring they
would only resume negotiations with a follow on regime after
Arroyo was impeached. Kosanovic agreed the NDF badly
overplayed its hand. Several ranking CPP/NPA/NDF officials
were facing arrest resulting from the GRP’s suspension of the
NDF’s security and immunity guarantees. Norway, the third
party facilitator, sent a delegation to Manila in mid-August
to gauge GRP sentiments and then hosted informal
consultations August 28-30 to bring together mid-level
officials from each side.

Groping For Deliverables

¶3. (C) Kosanovic said even with a return to negotiations,
there are several (all too familiar) sticking points. One
issue is that the two sides have disparate ideas regarding a
negotiated ceasefire. Kosanovic stated the NDF is pulling
for a phased or piece-meal ceasefire, while the GRP has
stressed that it prefers a lasting, comprehensive, and
nationwide ceasefire. The wider socio-economic reforms that
form the keystone of the NDF’s demands remain difficult to
discuss, let alone implement, according to Kosanovic.

All Parties Ready To Resume Formal Talks

¶4. (SBU) The Norwegian Foreign Ministry on September 2 and
the GRP Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (OPAPP) on September 5 issued separate positive
statements noting that formal talks will resume at a yet
undetermined date. The GRP’s statement specifically notes
the withdrawal of its suspension of the security and immunity
guarantees, which should have taken effect on September 3.
The GRP statement also says the parties have agreed to a
nationwide joint ceasefire during, and in connection with,
the days when formal peace negotiations are held. National
Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales hinted to the media on
August 30 that formal talks would resume soon.

¶5. (SBU) For its part, the NDF announced its receipt of the
GRP’s withdrawal of suspension. On the CPP/NPA/NDF’s website
on September 3, the NDF’s Chief International Representative,
Utrecht-based Luis Jalandoni, stressed opposition to the
USG’s listing of the CPP/NPA as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization, but added the NDF’s willingness to further
discuss the resumption of formal talks and other issues such
as a “joint ceasefire of short duration.” (Note: In its
public statements, the NDF typically raises the FTO listing
as an example of “foreign interference.” End Note.)

Comment: No Real Breakthrough

¶6. (C) The talks seem to be back where they were several
months ago, before President Arroyo’s political troubles put
her on the ropes in the Communists’ eyes. A return to the
negotiating table is always a welcome development, but there
are no indications of any breakthrough, given the daylight
between the GRP and the NDF on key issues such as a permanent
ceasefire and wider socio-economic reforms. End Comment.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified SIPRNET website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm

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