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Duterte asks exiled Philippines Maoist leader to return for peace talks

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he has invited a self-exiled Communist rebel leader home for “make-or-break” peace talks. Duterte had promised to revive a stuttering peace process to end nearly five decades of conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people. However, the effort has been fraught with problems and he abandoned talks in November, complaining of duplicity and repeated rebel attacks. On Thursday, Duterte said he had invited Jose Maria Sison, founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to return after three decades in exile to restart the negotiations, Reuters reports. “He has agreed,” Duterte said, promising to let Sison return to exile in the Netherlands, regardless of the outcome. Sison was once Duterte’s university lecturer and the two are known for hurling insults at each other.