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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 04:43 GMT 05:43 UK
Philippine foreign minister resigns
Philippines Vice-President Teofisto Guingona speaking to reporters
Mr Guingona will remain vice-president
Philippine Vice-President Teofisto Guingona is resigning as foreign minister, after a political farce last week when it was announced he was stepping down, and then reinstated later the same day.


Since the president is the chief architect of foreign policy, the vice-president yields

Joint statement
The decision was made public in a joint statement with President Gloria Arroyo, which whom he had publicly argued over the US military presence in the south of the country.

Mr Guingona will remain vice-president.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo
Mrs Arroyo has been at odds with her deputy for some time
"The resignation stemmed from an honest difference of opinion concerning policies," the joint statement said.

"Since the president is the chief architect of foreign policy, the vice-president yields."

The statement said that Mr Guingona "expressed his appreciation to the president for the opportunity to serve" in her cabinet, while Mrs Arroyo "thanked the vice president for his patriotism and devotion to duty in implementing the nation's foreign policy".

The resignation will take effect on 15 July.

'Solid team'

Mr Guingona belongs to a nationalist school of thought that objects to the presence of US forces, says our Manila correspondent John McLean.

The vice-president had openly opposed the deployment of US troops, who arrived in January to help train Philippines troops to combat Islamic rebels in the country's south.

US troops at a ceremony to mark the start of joint operations with the Philippines
US troops: Arroyo wants them, Guingona does not
Mr Guingona had threatened at the time to resign over the issue but had in the end supported the president.

The US troops are barred from combat except in self-defence. But nationalists fears their very presence could undermine national sovereignty.

Mrs Arroyo has publicly supported calls for fresh military exercises between the Philippines and the US which are due to end on 31 July.

On Monday, both sides announced that the exercises would continue in the form of a "sustained programme of security cooperation and counter-terrorism training and assistance" stretching over the next five years.

Mrs Arroyo, who sees US military help as vital in quelling Muslim insurrections in the south, is expected to stand for re-election in 2004.

See also:

26 Jun 02 | Asia-Pacific
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29 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
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