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Philippine bishops urge new dialogue with Communist "terrorists"

Philippine Church leaders in a broad alliance are pushing the government to continue formal peace talks with communist party leaders, even if other nations condemn the rebel party as "terrorist".

Bishop Antonio Ledesma of Ipil said the government should "not be swayed" into abandoning the peace process just because the European Union, urged by the Philippine government, declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) "terrorists".

The Jesuit bishop, who heads the Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, spoke after Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas Ople announced that the European Union and Australia had classified both communist party chairman Jose Maria Sison and the NPA as "terrorists".

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