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Panama's Military Urges Ouster of U.S. Troops

February 09, 1988|United Press International

PANAMA CITY — The Panamanian military, in a show of support for strongman Gen. Manuel A. Noriega, asked President Eric A. Delvalle on Monday to expel all American troops from Panama, site of the largest U.S. base in Latin America.

In Washington, the Pentagon made it clear it had no intention of removing its forces from Panama.

"We are in Panama in compliance with the Panama Canal treaty," said a Pentagon spokeswoman, Capt. Nancy Lalutas, and she referred to U.S.-Panamanian agreements that "provide for us to be there until noon on Dec. 31, 1999."

"The armed forces has been the principal target of this aggression (from the United States)," the Panamanian military statement said, "particularly our commander in chief, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, along with the high officials of the institution, with the aim of breaking institutional unity and hurting the fight to reach our national objective, the recuperation of our total sovereignty in the year 2000.

"We ask President Eric Arturo Delvalle for the withdrawal of the Southern Command from our territory . . . "

Delvalle, sworn in as president after Noriega ou;sted his predecessor is considered a figurehead, with Noriega holding ture power in Panama.

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