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Aquino: No plan to meet with Reds

President Benigno Aquino III has no plans of meeting Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison any time soon. Contrary to claims of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there was never a plan for a dialog because “there was no meeting of the minds.” According to a report of the NDFP National Council, the meeting between Mr. Aquino and Sison was proposed by presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas during informal talks in Utrecht late 2012 and was supposed to happen early this year in Hanoi. NDF chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said what was supposed to be a historic meeting will no longer push through because of the duplicity of the government. But Lacierda said this was only the “spin” of the NDF, adding that the communist group have themselves to blame for making impossible demands. “That is just a spin of NDF. There were no agreements made on whether to meet with Mr. Sison,” Lacierda said. “There were certain commitments that they want from us that were not acceptable to the government...There was no meeting of the minds,” the Palace official added. Jalandoni claimed the government was trying to trap the communist group into signing an indefinite ceasefire agreement while refusing to release detained consultants and New Peoples’ Army leaders. Both the government and the CPP-NDF negotiating panels last held informal talks in Feb. 2011. Meetings under a special track were held late last year, where they agreed  to discuss the forging of a Common Declaration of National Unity and Just Peace, which upon signing by the parties will trigger the immediate implementation of a truce. Despite Jalandoni’s claim, the issue of prisoner release was not discussed during the special tracks meeting, and neither was it contained in the joint communique signed in December.
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