A Philippine senator called Saturday for the suspension of lease negotiations for U.S. military bases until after the nation's 1992 presidential elections.
"I would rather not have a treaty than be rushed into approving one we will be all sorry for later," said Sen. John Osmena, who has openly called for the continued U.S. presence in the Philippines.Osmena called for the preparation of an "interim pullout plan" which he said could be reversed later depending on the decision of the administration that will take over from President Corazon Aquino, who has announced she will not seek re-election.
Osemna said the interim plan could satisfy the constitutional requirement that the U.S. facilities only be maintained under a treaty ratified by the Senate.
The 1947 lease on the giant Clark Air Base, Subic Bay Naval Station and four smaller facilities expires Sept. 16.
Special U.S. negotiator Richard Armitage left Manila Friday after five days of discussions with Foreign Secretary Raul Manglapus failed to yield an agreement on the base leases.
Spokesmen could not say if there will be another meeting.
U.S. won't offer a 'blank check'
President Bush on Saturday said he is not offering a "blank check" to keep U.S. bases in the Philippines but expressed hopes that deadlocked talks will still produce an agreement.
"We're having negotiations still going on, but it's still no deal," Bush told reporters traveling with him to a commencement speech at the University of Michigan.
The U.S. negotiating team complained that Manila was asking more money than Washington could afford and was linking trade and other economic issues to the bases.
The conclusion of the latest round of talks with Manila ended Friday in a stalemate after a year of bargaining.