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Talks on PH, US defense accord not yet over

/ 08:26 PM March 27, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Negotiations for an Enhanced Defense Cooperation between the Philippines and United States are not yet over, but both sides made “further progress.”

Defense Undersecretary and Chair of the Philippine negotiating panel Pio Lorenzo Batino said that the eighth round of negotiations will be held in early April.

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“We are moving forward on many key provisions and it is crucial at this point that both sides are clear on their common understanding of these key provisions and of the thrust of the agreement,” Batino said in a statement.

The seventh round of talks was held early this week at the Department of National Defense headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo.

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Batino described the discussions as “open and substantive” and achieved “further progress, adding the negotiations were “proceeding at a deliberate pace.”

The agreement will allow the United States a wider access to Philippine military bases amid heightened tensions with China over the West Philippine Sea.

Talks are rife that the deal would be signed in time for the visit of US President Barack Obama in late April, but Malacañang had earlier denied it.

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TAGS: Department of National Defense, Enhanced Defense Cooperation, PH-US defense accord, Pio Lorenzo Batino, United States-Philippines relations, West Philippine Sea
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