"Maliki: Don’t call it a ‘security pact'; it’s ‘an agreement to withdraw’ U.S. troops."
Today, the AP is reporting that according to a close aide to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi government “wants to eliminate any chance U.S. forces will stay” in Iraq “after 2011 under a proposed security pact.” But also yesterday, al-Maliki took issue with calling the agreement a “security pact”:
Al-Maliki, meanwhile, met with a leading Shiite politician late Thursday to discuss the deal. Government television quoted the prime minister as describing the agreement as a framework for the pullout of U.S. forces and the regulation of “their activities within the rest of the time they’re here.”
“We don’t call it a security pact but an agreement to withdraw the troops and organize their activities during the period of their presence in Iraq,” al-Maliki was quoted as saying.
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, said yesterday that “there is a 20 percent to 30 percent chance” the two sides will come to an agreement. Without an agreement or an extension of the UN mandate authorizing the presence of U.S. troops, the American military “would have to suspend all operations in Iraq” after Dec. 31, 2009.