MANILA, Philippines – Philippine communist rebels say they plan to meet with the government of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss a resumption of long-stalled peace talks, and will demand an end to the U.S. military presence in the country.
Rebel negotiator Fidel Agcaoili told a rare news conference in Manila on Thursday that the demand "is non-negotiable." He said government and rebel negotiators are preparing to meet soon in Europe to discuss the resumption of talks, which could start as early as July.
Duterte, who takes office June 30, has offered two Cabinet posts to left-wing allies of the rebels, who have freed kidnapped policemen in return to encourage the resumption of talks.
The rebels have been fighting for a Marxist state since 1969 in one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.