Iraq's Maliki: Talks with US on new pact reach 'dead end'

Maliki said Iraq objected to Washington's insistence on giving its troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq and to conduct operations independent of Iraqi control.

Iraq's Maliki: Talks with US on new pact reach 'dead end'
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday talks with the United States on a new long-term security pact had reached a "dead end" because of U.S. demands that infringed Iraq's sovereignty.

"We have reached a dead end, 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 told journalists during a visit to neighbouring Jordan.

The United States and Iraq are negotiating a new agreement to provide a legal basis for U.S. occupation troops to stay in Iraq after Dec. 31, when their United Nations mandate expires.

They are also negotiating a long-term strategic framework agreement on political, diplomatic, economic, security and cultural ties.

In his first detailed comments on the talks, which are taking place behind closed doors, Maliki said Iraq objected to Washington's insistence on giving its troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq and to conduct operations independent of Iraqi control.

"We can't extend the U.S. forces permission to arrest Iraqis or to undertake "terror fighting" 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."

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday that he was confident of reaching an agreement with Iraq. U.S. officials say to reach a deal by July, but Iraqi officials have been more cautious and suggested that date may be missed.

Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2008, 12:48
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