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Philippines, U.S. disagree in troop deployment talks

By Jim Gomez

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:14 a.m. HST, Nov 05, 2013

MANILA, Philippines >> The Philippine defense chief said Tuesday that disagreements between U.S. and Filipino negotiators are prolonging talks on an accord allowing an increase in American military presence in the country.

Negotiations began in August on a defense agreement that would allow larger numbers of U.S. troops to have temporary access to Philippine military camps and bring in aircraft, ships and other equipment. U.S. troops have already been allowed to train Filipino anti-terrorism forces in the southern Philippines since 2002.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said one key issue involves a U.S. failure to clearly accept Philippine control over and access to temporary American facilities to be set up in local camps.

"They can't say yes or no but what will happen if we won't have access? Those bases will look like their bases," Gazmin said in a telephone interview.

"You can say there is a kind of an impasse, a disagreement," he said, but added he was optimistic that the differences could be overcome.

U.S. Embassy officials did not immediately comment.

Philippine negotiators have been told to ensure that any agreement would comply with the Philippine Constitution and laws and that the U.S. would not have exclusive use of any facility established within selected Philippine military camps, Philippine officials have said.

There were also differences on how to word certain provisions of the agreement, Gazmin said.

The next negotiating session has not been scheduled. The differences mean an agreement may be reached next year at the earliest.

The Philippines' desire to bolster its defense while engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea has dovetailed with Washington's intention to pivot away from years of heavy military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq to Asia.

Hundreds of American troops have been stationed in the southern Philippines for counter-terrorism training since 2002.

The presence of foreign troops is a sensitive issue in the Philippines, a former American colony. The Philippine Senate voted in 1991 to close down major U.S. bases. A pact ratified in 1999 allowed temporary visits such as joint exercises.

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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Translation: Uncle Sugar refused to pay!
on November 5,2013 | 02:35AM
Smiley7 wrote:
They didn't want us there and now they should defend themselves. We need to take care of America first and our people. We can't be the world's policeman any longer. Auwe!
on November 5,2013 | 04:00AM
Shellback wrote:
on November 5,2013 | 10:24AM
Grimbold wrote:
I cannot believe this nonsense: The impoverished nation of Philippines is profiting from our beneficial presence there , and they want money to ALLOW US TO BENEFIT THEM ? For what?
on November 5,2013 | 05:00AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
If the Philippines doesnt want a U.S. presence in their country....we should not continue with any foreign aid such training, equipment, etc....we should just stay out and let them handle their own internal security....
on November 5,2013 | 06:41AM
loquaciousone wrote:
If the Phillipines don't want us there, we don't have to be there. Let them sink on their own.
on November 5,2013 | 07:06AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
If the US abandons the PI, the Chinese will move in the next day.
on November 5,2013 | 07:33AM
Shellback wrote:
That will be their problem.
on November 5,2013 | 10:24AM
DanLBoom wrote:
Why are we stiil there??? Is Our Politicians really that dump?? They'll downplay it and say it's for "Strategic reasons and a great partner of terrorism"......Yeah Right!! The Philipines are one of the Biggest consumers of the yankee dollar. It's like shooting them selves in the feet. So much for gradtitude....The Philipines has been living off the US for too long. Time for them to get weaned. And protect thier own Okoles. We need to Dismantle all of our US bases there and bring our troops home. Nuff already. Imua
on November 5,2013 | 08:01AM
islandsun wrote:
Too many immigrants come from there. Hawaii has become the second coming of the Philippines, a crime riddled country.
on November 5,2013 | 08:03AM
lajekal wrote:
Stop the negotiations! Leave the military presence in Guam or Hawaii.
on November 5,2013 | 11:14AM
ejkorvette wrote:
Hey give the Philippines plenty of money. They are honest people, smart, organized, successful, independent and willing to share all the money they recieve with the poor. The country is sooooo awesome, all the Politicians are soooooo Honest. The entire country is sooooooo Educated and Worldly. Cool Beans.
on November 5,2013 | 11:27AM
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