Middle East News
Bush discusses forces agreement with Iraqi president
Jun 25, 2008, 15:42 GMT
Washington - US President George W Bush and his Iraqi counterpart, President Jalal Talabani, met Wednesday to discuss negotiations on an agreement for the stationing of US forces in Iraq.
The US and Iraqi governments are in talks to forge an agreement for the US military presence before a UN mandate expires at the end of this year.
'We talked about a strategic framework agreement that suits the Iraqi government,' Bush said.
The Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, would cover the full range of issues associated with a long term US contingency, including whether the troops are subject to Iraqi criminal courts.
Other contentious issues are whether the Iraqi government must be informed in advance of US military operations. The Bush administration is negotiating with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
The United States has SOFA pacts with more than a dozen countries.
Meanwhile, Talabani pledged that the Iraqi government will pass two laws this year seen as vital to the reconciliation of the country's ethnic and religious groups.
Talabani said a law will be passed this year to ensure oil revenue is fairly shared among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, and that work would be finished on a law for the country's next elections.