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Philippines To Insist U.S. Troops Stay Out Of Combat

The government of the Philippines will insist U.S. troops take no active role in combat during a planned offensive against Muslim rebels on a southern island, the Philippine president said Saturday. U.S. troops would train Filipino soldiers for operations against the Abu Sayyaf on southern Jolo Island, said Ignacio Bunye, spokesman for President Gloria Macapagal. “This will have to be within the framework of the constitution and our interpretation of that is no foreign combat troops,” Bunye told The Associated Press. The U.S.-Philippine offensive against the Muslim rebels in the Asian nation is on hold after the defense chiefs of the two countries failed to reach an agreement on the plan. U.S. defense officials announced on Feb. 20 that they had an agreement to deploy more than 1,000 American troops in March to help rout Abu Sayyaf forces. Full Story

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