Philippine government agrees new truce with Maoist-led rebels
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while delivering a speech during the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool
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MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed a new ceasefire with Maoist-led guerrillas, who declared a truce several hours before, ahead of fresh peace talks in Norway next week, a senior administration official said on Saturday.
The ceasefire will come into effect from Sunday morning.
Duterte lifted the unilateral truce with the communist New People's Army late last month as rebels did not respond to a deadline to reciprocate the government's truce.
"The enabling environment brought about by this 'silencing of guns' will hopefully go a long way in bringing about an expeditious and early resolution to our differences and aspirations that have long divided us as a people," Jesus Dureza, presidential peace adviser, said in a statement.
The peace talks, brokered by Norway, will resume on Aug. 22, four years after getting bogged down due to rebels' demand for the release of 500 political prisoners.
Last week, 17 captured communist guerrilla leaders in the Philippines were freed so they could attend peace talks next week in Norway.
Duterte, who came to power seven weeks ago, is seeking to negotiate an end to two long-running insurgencies by Muslims and communists.
Talks brokered by Norway between the government and the Maoist-led rebels' National Democratic Front stalled in 2012 over the government's refusal to free communist leaders who had been in jail for decades.
In 1987, the founder of the communist party, Jose Maria Sison, went to the Netherlands months after being freed from nine years of detention, but never returned. He sought asylum in Utrecht and has lived there for nearly 30 years.
(Reporting by Karen Lema, editing by David Evans)
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