Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has scraped peace talks with communist rebels some five months after both sides agreed on negotiations to end almost fifty years of deadly conflict.
On Saturday, Duterte said that his is abandoning discussions in Norway with the New People’s Army (NPA) just one day after calling off a unilateral ceasefire with the rebels.
“I will request tomorrow the Philippine contingent to fold their tents and come home,” he said, adding that, “I tried everything…I walked the extra mile, released prisoners, released their leaders so they can go to Oslo to talk.”
He added that now that the peace talks have been canceled, the group’s leaders, who had been freed to take part in negotiations, would be going back to prison.
The last round of talks fell through last week in Italy after that rebels called for the release of some 400 prisoners.
Since taking office last year, Duterte has been attempting to reach an agreement with the rebels and has already engaged in two rounds of formal discussions with them.
During the almost five decades of conflict between the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the NPA, and the Philippine government around 40,000 people have been killed.
The rebels have also accused Duterte of using his controversial war on drugs as an excuse to launch operations against them.
The military says the NPA has fewer than 4,000 gunmen today, down from a peak of 26,000 in the 1980s.