Philippines' foreign minister says to respect, honor commitments with United States

Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay speaks during a news conference at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Pasay city Metro Manila, Philippines July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro/Files

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines will continue to honor its treaty obligations with the United States, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte called for the withdrawal of U.S. special forces troops from southern Philippines.

“The president has said, even as a priority statement in his inaugural address, that we will respect and continue to honor our treaty obligations and commitments particularly even with the U.S.,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay told a radio interview on Tuesday.

“His statements now are not intended and should not be taken as a signal that he will take back his previous statements insofar as respecting these agreements are concerned,” said Yasay.

On Monday, Duterte said U.S. military presence could complicate offensives against Islamist militants notorious for beheading Westerners.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry