Sydney Morning Herald
Friday, August 22, 2008
NEGOTIATORS have concluded a deal which will see the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by 2011, ending an eight-year occupation, the top Iraqi heading the team said yesterday.
Under the 27-point deal, all US combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by next June, the negotiator, Mohammed al-Haj Hammoud, said.
The agreement had already been approved by the US President, George Bush, and now needed to be endorsed by Iraqi leaders, he added.
Baghdad and Washington had agreed to “withdraw the US troops from Iraq by end of 2011”, Mr Hammoud said.
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“The combat troops will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 2009. Both the parties have agreed on this,” he said. “The negotiators’ job is done. Now it is up to the leaders.”
The security pact will decide the future of US forces in Iraq once the present UN mandate, which provides the legal framework for the presence of foreign forces in Iraq, expires in December.
Mr Bush and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, agreed last November to formalise a withdrawal agreement by July 31. The arrangement was delayed due to strong opposition from Iraqi leaders over issues such as when US combat troops would withdraw from Iraq, how many bases Washington would retain and whether US troops would be immune from Iraqi laws.
This article was posted: Friday, August 22, 2008 at 12:26 pm