|Philippines||CARDINAL FAILS TO WIN OVER REBELS|
Filipino Communist rebels have rejected an offer from Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila, to use his house as a venue for peace talks between the Government and the rebels.
The London Tablet reports that leaders of the National Democratic Front (NDF) said from their base in the Netherlands that they would never put their members and allies under "enemy surveillance". The NDF has recently released four kidnapped policemen and several soldiers.
Seven years of peace talks with the Government were suspended earlier this year. This followed a series of kidnappings designed to force the authorities into releasing imprisoned guerrillas, including a 17-year-old girl injured in a shoot-out with the army two months ago. Against President Estrada's wishes, a group of politicians visited the exiled NDF leader, Josť Maria Sison, and forged an agreement for the release of the captives on "humanitarian grounds", in a bid to put the talks back on track.
President Estrada hopes that the 30-year rebellion can now be settled by the end of the year. The rebels are said to want talks to take place in the Netherlands or in an area of the Philippines under their control.
|12:09pm 3/5/99 / The Tablet|