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

Australia will continue pursuing trade deal, minister says

Australia is not giving up on the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership, despite US president Donald Trump withdrawing...

Militants in Ukraine, Turkey and Yemen fuel rise in global attacks

The number of attacks worldwide by terrorists and militants soared by 26 per cent to more than 24,000 last year,...

Trump Organization: President has no more role in businesses

Newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump, a New York-based real estate mogul and investor, has relinquished all...

At least 11 killed as al-Shabaab tries to seize town in Somalia

At least 11 people died Monday when heavily armed insurgents of the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab tried to...

Trump talks military aid with Egypt's al-Sissi

US President Donald Trump told Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi Monday that the new US administration is...