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Iraq Says Security Pact With US At Impasse

From an overjoyed Reuters:

Demonstrators beat an effigy of Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki during a rally after Friday prayers in Baghdad’s Sadr City June 13, 2008. Several thousand demonstrators marched across Iraqi cities on a weekly Friday rally, to protest at talks between Washington and Baghdad on keeping U.S. troops in Iraq after 2008, responding to a call by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Iraq says talks with U.S. on pact deadlocked

By Waleed Ibrahim

AMMAN (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday talks with the United States on a long-term security pact were at a stalemate because of U.S. demands that encroached on Iraq’s sovereignty.

The United States and Iraq are negotiating a new security deal to provide a legal basis for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq after December 31, when their United Nations mandate expires, as well as a separate long-term agreement on political, economic and security ties between the two countries.

"We have reached a deadlock, because when we started the talks, we found that the U.S. demands hugely infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq, and this we can never accept," Maliki said, speaking in Arabic to journalists during a visit to Jordan.

The talks have been taking place behind closed doors. U.S. officials have refused to be drawn on their content other than to say the agreement will have no secret annexes and that it will be open to scrutiny by the Iraqi parliament.

In his first detailed comments on the talks, Maliki said Iraq objected to Washington’s insistence on giving its troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq and freedom to conduct operations independent of Iraqi control.

"We can’t extend the U.S. forces permission to arrest Iraqis or to undertake the responsibility of fighting terrorism in an independent way, or to keep Iraqi skies and waters open for themselves whenever they want," he said.

"One of the important issues that the U.S. is asking for is immunity for its soldiers and those contracting with it. We reject this totally."

Speaking later to members of the Iraqi community in Amman, Maliki sought to soften his remarks, saying that while there was a deadlock on preliminary drafts of the security agreement, fresh ideas were being put forward by both sides.

The United States has similar "status of forces" agreements with 80 countries, with provisions to protect U.S. soldiers from prosecution by a foreign judiciary

Funny, but there seemed to be no problems with this agreement until Mr. Maliki went to Iran.

Did they give him marching orders? Or is he just trying to placate al-Sadr’s thugs?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, June 13th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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