The Philippine government and communist rebels say they will meet for a fresh round of talks next month after mediation by Norway removed an obstacle in the negotiations.
The rebels refused to meet government negotiators in June until they received assurances that their consultants would be released from detention. The rebels claim they are covered by immunity from prosecution and were arrested illegally.
Chief rebel negotiator Luis Jalandoni said Wednesday that both sides agreed to take "positive steps" including efforts to free the detainees during a meeting this week in Manila with Norwegian special envoy Ture Lundh.
Government negotiator Alex Padilla says officials are open to releasing the rebels but did not give any assurances.