Iraqi speaker resigns before foreign troop deal approved

The Iraqi parliament has voted to allow the presence of non-US foreign troops after December 31.

Iraqi speaker resigns before foreign troop deal approved

The Iraqi parliament has voted to allow the presence of non-US foreign troops after December 31, giving British, Australian and other troops a legal basis to remain beyond the expiry of a UN mandate.

"We authorise the government to take all necessary steps regarding foreign forces other than U.S. forces," said deputy parliamentary speaker Khalid al-Attiya.

He said the measure approved would allow the troops to stay in Iraq through the end of July 2009.

The vote was delayed for several days by squabbling in the parliament, whose speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, resigned just before the resolution was passed on Tuesday.

Details of the measure were not immediately available, but Attiya said it empowered the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to permit the troops to stay.

On Saturday, parliament on technical grounds rejected a draft law that would have allowed them to do combat operations through May next year and to stay in Iraq through July.

Deputies argued that, rather than legislation, a treaty or agreement was needed, similar in format to a U.S.-Iraqi deal that allows the 140,000 troops in Iraq to remain until 2011.

The vote was then sidelined by the political storm that resulted in the resignation of Mashhadani, a Sunni Arab physician.

Shi'ite and Kurd lawmakers had demanded Mashhadani's resignation. It remains to be seen who will replace Mashhadani, a member of Iraq's largest Sunni bloc.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown confirmed last week that his country would start withdrawing its troops from Iraq by the end of May.

Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Aralık 2008, 13:57
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