Duterte: I'll never talk to terrorists
MANILA Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday he did not initiate dialogue with Islamist militants as he would never talk to criminals and terrorists.
Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that Mr Duterte was preparing to make a deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-inspired militants in the days after they occupied the town of Marawi, but he aborted the plan without explanation.
"No, I did not," Mr Duterte said when asked during a media briefing if he had indeed, as Reuters reported, pushed for talks with the Maute group of militants battling government troops for control of Marawi.
"I have never talked to terrorists and I will never talk to criminals and terrorists, but I will talk to revolutionaries who are imbued with principle," Mr Duterte said.
More than six weeks after the militants launched their assault on the town, they are still resisting daily attacks by government forces. - REUTERS