Middle East News
Iraq's al-Maliki says no agreement signed for US troops to stay
Apr 26, 2011, 15:41 GMT
Baghdad - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Tuesday that he has not signed an agreement for the remaining 50,000 US troops stationed in Iraq to stay beyond their scheduled withdrawal at the end of the year.
'There is no agreement to this day with the US administration to keep 10,000 or 5,000, or 1,000 or even 100 US troops in Iraq,' said al-Maliki.
His remarks come after Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday at a US military base outside Baghdad that Iraq's government must decide within weeks whether it wants any US troops to remain beyond the end of the year.
'We do not need to keep US troops in Iraq,' al-Maliki told press on Tuesday. 'Iraqi forces and security services have become viable are able to control the security situation.'
However, he said that there is still no specific date set for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq this year, adding that the Iraqi government will give the USsufficient time to withdraw its forces as promised.
His remarks come after at least one protester was killed and 44 injured when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse hundreds of protesters gathered Friday in northern Iraq's city of Mosul, who were demanding the US keep to its scheduled withdrawal at the end of 2011.
Tribal leaders and members of the provincial council joined over 1,000 protesters who vowed to continue their rallies until US forces leave the country amid suggestions that troops might stay beyond their scheduled departure.
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