Duterte says US troops must leave southern Philippines

Hundreds of US troops training Filipino soldiers in counter-terrorism in the southern Philippines should leave, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

Duterte said the presence of American forces in Mindanao only worsens the situation in the conflict-wracked region.

“These special forces, they have to go,” he said in a speech in Manila. “I do not want a rift with America, but they have to go. The situation will only be more volatile.”

More than 1,000 US special forces are stationed in Mindanao to train Filipino soldiers in fighting terrorism.

Duterte’s statement comes after a spat with US President Barack Obama in a regional summit in Laos.

Obama called off a one-on-one meeting with Duterte who threatened to swear at him if he brought up the issue of human rights abuses under his deadly anti-drug campaign.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s statement “reflects (his) new direction towards ... an independent foreign policy.”

Last update: Mon, 12/09/2016 - 17:39


More from World

Venezuela's Maduro threatens businesses with seizure over strike

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened businesses considering joining a planned national strike Friday,...

Official: 772 militants killed since launch of Mosul offensive

Iraqi joint forces have killed 772 Islamic State militants since the launch of the offensive this month to dislodge...

End of an offshore era? Panama signs tax transparency treaty

Panama signed an international convention for tax transparency Thursday, agreeing to work with other countries...

Twitter cuts more jobs, ends Vine app in pursuit of profitability

The social media service Twitter will lay off about 9 per cent of its workforce worldwide, the company announced...

Lights out for Venezuela legislature amid political crisis

A power cut left Venezuela's National Assembly in the dark Thursday just before it was to open debate on a planned "...