Baghdad (AP) Iraq's prime minister is demanding a “specific deadline” for the withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Iraq before any security agreement with the U.S. Is reached.
The comments follow last week's tentative agreement by U.S. and Iraqi officials to a schedule that includes a broad pullout of combat forces by the end of 2011. A residual U.S. Force would remain behind to continue training and advising the Iraqi security forces.
Prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki's statement suggests Iraq still isn't satisfied with that arrangement. The Premier's aide says that the country is adamant that the last American soldier must leave Iraq by the end of 2011, regardless of security conditions at the time.
President Bush has long resisted a timetable for pulling out troops from Iraq. White House spokesman Tony Fratto says negotiations with the Iraqis are ongoing, but maintains that the U.S. stance on a withdrawal depends on conditions in Iraq.