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Aquino Calls End to Truce

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Associated Press

President Corazon Aquino today called on troops to resume military operations against communist rebels, saying her government had done its best to negotiate an end to the 18-year-old insurgency.

“The truce is over,” the president told about 500 soldiers at the Camp Aguinaldo military headquarters. A 60-day cease-fire between the government and rebel New People’s Army expired Sunday.

“God may yet snatch us from the brink of war and set us gently down in peace,” she said. “In the meantime, we are pledged to secure the persons and property of our citizens. To that end, the New Armed Forces will resume operations against the insurgents. We shall have law and order throughout our country.”

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‘History Will Decide’

The collapse of Aquino’s peace negotiations with the communists has been a major blow to her efforts toward national reconciliation.

“History will decide who is to blame,” Aquino said.

The 54-year-old president promised to continue with amnesty and rehabilitation programs for “non-ideologues” among the 23,500 New People’s Army rebels and to seek peace talks with regional rebel leaders.

Last month the communist-dominated National Democratic Front broke off peace talks it was conducting with the government on behalf of the NPA, and refused to extend the cease-fire. Front spokesman Antonio Zumel called on the government to withdraw the constitution as the basis for negotiations.

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