MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine defense chief says disagreements in negotiations between U.S. and Filipino officials may prevent an early conclusion of an accord allowing an increase in American military presence in the country.
U.S. and Filipino officials began negotiations 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 south since 2002.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Tuesday one key issue involves a U.S. failure to clearly commit to a condition for the Philippines to have control over and access to temporary American facilities to be set up in local camps.
U.S. Embassy officials did not immediately comment.