US says no pressure on Phl to sign enhanced defense pact


MANILA, Philippines – While encouraged by the “positive” outcome of the eighth and possibly last round of negotiations with the Philippines for enhanced defense cooperation, the United States is urging Manila not to be pressured into signing an agreement by the April 28 visit of US President Barack Obama, diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Sources also ruled out a connection between Obama’s visit and the enhanced defense deal or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s upgrade of the Philippines’ commercial aviation industry status to Category 1.

“These two are not related. It is a technical matter. If the Philippines did not comply it would not have gotten (Category 1),” a source said.

“That is not the case,” another source confirmed. “They have been coming here for the last six years… and there is technical assistance to CAAP. It has nothing to do with the visit. It just so happened. It is a coincidence.”

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