DFA: Obama's October visit to push through
MANILA, Philippines - Despite the raging gun battle between government forces and the Misuari faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga City, the scheduled visit of US President Barack Obama to the country this October will push through, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the US government has expressed no concerns over the ongoing conflict in Zamboanga in connection with the visit of Obama next month.
Del Rosario expressed confidence that Obama’s visit will push through this October, his first to the country since he became president.
According to Del Rosario, the agenda for the meeting between Obama and President Aquino is still being worked out.
“It’s a work in progress,” Del Rosario told reporters after the hearing on the proposed P12.14-billion budget of the DFA at the Senate.
Asked if the new round of talks on the increased rotational presence of American troops in the country would be discussed or if agreements would be concluded during the meeting, Del Rosario admitted there is no certainty that this would take place.
“I don’t know. We concluded a third round so there’s a fourth round coming up so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
The forthcoming visit of Obama to the Philippines comes as the ASEAN and China are discussing the Code of Conduct (COC) of countries in the South China Sea.
Del Rosario said the recently concluded senior officials meeting between the ASEAN and China took up the COC for the first time.