Philippines evicting U.S. from base

December 27, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

MANILA -- The Philippine government served notice today that the United States must close its largest naval base in Asia by the end of 1992, ending nearly a century of American military presence in this former colony.

The eviction notice came in the form of a statement from President Corazon Aquino's top aide after the last in a series of negotiations to extend the U.S. presence at Subic Bay Naval Base broke down during a meeting between Aquino and U.S. Ambassador Frank Wisner. There had been proposals to extend the lease for three years.

"Today, the governments of the Philippines and the United States have mutually agreed to terminate discussions on a proposed three-year executive agreement for a phased and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces stationed at the Subic Naval Base," said Aquino's executive secretary, Franklin Drilon.

A key issue in the talks was a Philippine constitutional ban on nuclear weapons at the base. U.S. policy is to refuse to confirm or deny the presence of such weapons on ships or aircraft.

"Unfortunately, the U.S. cannot meet these Philippine concerns," declared Drilon.

Drilon stressed that Manila wants to maintain good relations with Washington.

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