Philippines delays rebel talks but says ‘breakthroughs’ near

A Philippine official says the government is delaying the proposed resumption of peace talks with communist guerrillas this month to allow public consultations.

The government added it’s “now at the cusp of some major breakthroughs.”

Presidential adviser Jesus Dureza told reporters Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered government negotiators to consult public and government groups about issues in the Norwegian-brokered negotiation, delaying its planned resumption.

Duterte separately said the talks may resume next month.

Rebel leader Jose Maria Sison has said “back channel” talks led both sides to agree to a preliminary “stand-down” accord on June 21, with the peace talks to resume on June 28 to June 30 in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

Duterte terminated the talks last year to protest rebel attacks on state forces.