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Exiled Philippine Communist Party Leader Warns Peace Talks Jeopardized - 2004-04-07


The exiled leader of the Philippine communist party is warning that peace talks with the government are being jeopardized by calls to keep some parties away from the May national elections.

Tension between the Philippine government and leftist political parties is increasing, after National Security Advisor Norberto Gonzales accused several parties of funneling government money to the outlawed Communist Party and its armed wing, the New Peoples Army, or NPA.

Mr. Gonzales, himself a former leftist, called for the disqualification of six leftist parties from elections scheduled for May.

The parties have denied Mr. Gonzales's accusations and are asking for his dismissal.

Exiled communist party leader Jose Maria Sison warned Wednesday that Mr. Gonzales's allegations are threatening peace talks.

?If Mrs. Macapagal Arroyo allows these mad-dog rantings of her national security advisor, then the third round of formal talks might be prejudiced,? Mr. Sison said.

The Philippine government and the communists have held two rounds of peace talks this year aimed at ending a 35-year insurgency that has killed thousands.

The two sides are due to hold a new round of negotiations later this month.

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