Philippine bishops appeal for renewed talks
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Ecumenical group call on Duterte to show resolve as negotiation is the 'only way' to end deadly conflict
Peace activists gather outside a Catholic church in Manila to call for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and communist rebels. (Photo by Angie de Silva)
Bishops from various religious denominations in the Philippines issued an appeal on Feb. 17 for the government and communist rebels to return to the negotiating table to end almost five decades of conflict.
President Rodrigo Duterte called off peace talks following clashes between government soldiers and rebel fighters while a ceasefire was in effect. The military and the rebels accused each other of violating their respective truces.
The bishops, however, said the peace talks, which had reached a third round of formal negotiations, had been "productive and positive" as both parties "persevered in prioritizing the substantive agenda and setting the peace process on track."
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