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The Philippine government will ask the United States to remove from its list of terrorist organizations the leftist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), as well as its founding chairman Jose Maria Sison, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Philippine government chief negotiator with the leftist rebels Silvestre Bello III, also secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, said that the delisting of the CPP-NPA from the U.S. list of international terrorist organizations would put into fruition the commitment of Sison to President Rodrigo Duterte to return to the Philippines as part of the ongoing peace negotiations.

Duterte and Sison earlier agreed to meet in any neutral Asian country once the latter is removed from the list of international terrorists.

Sison, who has been self-exiled in the Netherlands, and the CPP-NPA, have been included in the individuals and entities designated as terrorists by the U.S. State Department since 2002.

The Philippine government under late President Corazon Aquino also cancelled Sison’s passport in 1987. If he leaves Europe, he could be arrested by the U.S. authorities.

Bello said Sison’s arrest could affect the peace talks.

With Donald Trump as the new U.S. president, he said it could be possible that Sison be stricken from the list of personalities considered by the American government as terrorists.

He also said that there is basis for the U.S. to remove the CPP, the umbrella organization, and the NPA, its armed wing, from the terror list since its political umbrella, the National Democratic Front, and Sison are now involved in the peace negotiations with the Philippine government, with the hope to end the 48-year guerrilla war in the country.

The European Union has long ago stricken Sison from the terror list, he noted. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/

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