President Corazon Aquino said Wednesday she hopes talks on U.S. military bases can resume soon, but her chief negotiator said Washington must show flexibility over compensation.
"Well, we tried," Aquino told reporters. "We hoped that we would finish. But after yesterday, I don't know."Philippine negotiators decided to suspend the talks indefinitely on Tuesday because of what Filipino spokesman Leonides Caday called substantial disagreement over payments for the use of six bases.
A Filipino official said Wednesday the Philippine panel is insisting on a $1.2 billion annual payment. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Americans were offering roughly half that.
The United States now pays about $180 million a year for the use of Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Base and four smaller military installations.
Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus met Wednesday with Aquino. He blamed the collapse on "what appeared to be an inflexible American position."
"I'm prepared to entertain any suggestions on the future of the talks," Manglapus said. "But we have to be assured that the position given to us by the Americans as inflexible is indeed not inflexible."
U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mary Carlin Yates declined to make any comment other than to say the American panel considered the talks only "temporarily suspended."
In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the government expects to resume negotiations and to reach agreement.