Thursday, 23 October 2008

No agreement could be signed with Britain before finalizing security deal - MP

No agreement could be signed with Britain before finalizing security deal - MP

October 23, 2008

BAGHDAD / Aswat al-Iraq: MP from the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) Haydar al-Abadi on Thursday said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the British side of the impossibility of signing any security agreement with it before the controversial pact with Washington is finalized.

“Al-Maliki told the British side that Iraq will discuss the matter after finalizing the agreement with the U.S.,” al-Abadi told Aswat al-Iraq.

“The Iraqi vision highlights that there is no need for the presence of British forces in Iraq after the end of their authorization by the end of 2008,” he explained.

He dismissed any British mediation between the U.S. and the UIA to facilitate the approval of the security deal, describing such news as baseless.

The U.S. and Iraqi governments are currently negotiating a security pact that would regulate the presence of foreign troops in the country after 2008.

A declaration of principles was signed between U.S. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in December 2007. The declaration was scheduled to be ratified on July 31, 2008 and to come into force as of January 1, 2009.

The agreement governs the presence of U.S. forces in the country after 2008 and will not come into force without the approval of the Iraqi Parliament

The current U.N. mandate for U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq expires on 31 December. About 144,000 of the 152,000 foreign troops deployed there are US military personnel.

The Iraqi government has publicly insisted on a clear timeline for withdrawal, and U.S. officials said the current draft included a timeline for U.S. withdrawal before the end of 2011.

It also wants to be able to prosecute U.S. troops if they commit crimes outside their bases while off duty or on unauthorized missions.

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